The City of Pittsfield’s Tyler Street District has been awarded a $30,000 grant through MassDevelopment toward the Tyler Street Storefront Improvement Enhancement Program.
The funds were accepted at the May 9th City Council meeting. Additionally, the Council approved matching funds of $30,000 the city’s 40R funds toward the program.
In addition to MassDevelopment, the city’s Community Development Department will work in concert with the Tyler Street Business Group on the initiative. Bonnie Galant, Acting Community Development Director, said the city’s inclusion in this program is a crucial resource to continue enhancing the Tyler Street district’s buildings and storefronts.
“Establishing this pilot program will help to create both a positive change in the neighborhood, as well as a more inviting presence for consumers,” Galant said. “As is the case of housing improvements, many times it only takes a few property owners taking the initiative to improve their properties to create a domino effect in a specific area.”
The program will help an estimated four to five storefronts in the district. There is an application process for businesses that may be interested in participating in the program. For businesses accepted into the pilot program, there is a 20 percent minimum of the project’s total cost or the remainder of the improvements, following allocations from both the MassDevelopment grant and the City of Pittsfield’s matching funds.
Diane Marcella, President of the Tyler Street Business Group, said that she was glad to know that business owners on Tyler Street would have access to this initiative. The program covers windows, lighting, and other external attributes.
“Obviously, everything helps and we’re excited because it’s one more tool to get to the end game,” Marcella said. “This will help businesses to improve their storefronts at such a small cost, who wouldn’t be happy about this?”
More than just aesthetics, this revitalization will be also help to stimulate the city’s economy.
“The establishment of this pilot program will help to stabilize existing businesses and attract new businesses to the Tyler Street TDI district,” Galant said. “Depending on the demand, the city may be able to access additional funds from MassDevelopment to continue the program beyond the initial $30,000 grant.”
The results of program will help the city determine future demand and also assess as to whether a permanent, long-term storefront improvement program should be established not only for Tyler Street businesses but also for our other business corridors throughout the City.”
In addition to this grant, Tyler Street is the beneficiary of another MassDevelopment initiative, the Better Block Program. The project, which will kick off toward the end of the summer, aims to transform a block on Tyler Street with the help of volunteers.
“This is truly a community event. Everybody who wants to help is welcome to be a part of this,” Marcella said. Those interested in volunteering, should contact Amewusika Sedzro, MassDevelopment’s Pittsfield TDI Fellow, at 617-275-6639.
For more information on the storefront pilot program, please call Galant at 499-9449.