The Assignment

Providing consulting services to four (4) Massachusetts communities through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) Local Rapid Recovery Planning (LRRP) program as a Plan Facilitator. They include Quincy (North Quincy Business District), Malden (Malden Center), Woburn (Woburn Center) and Shrewsbury (Shrewsbury Town Center District), as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to twenty-six (26) communities, presenter of two (2) program webinars and was chosen to create the Marketing Toolkit – one of ten (10) Toolkits developed for the entire program.

The LRRP program worked with 124 communities throughout Massachusetts and was developed as an immediate strategy program to provide technical assistance to key areas identified by the community applicants. The program approach utilized data analysis, a local business survey, community assessments, community meetings, collaboration, and the strength of knowledge from municipal officials, local businesses, the community, and the Planned Facilitators to develop actionable and realistic projects to support communities in the short-term to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic that would ultimately build stronger, more vibrant communities in the long-term.

The projects identified focused on the following categories: public realm, private realm, revenue & sales, administrative capacity, tenant mix, and cultural/arts.

The primary mission of the MDI is to make downtown revitalization an integral part of community development in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. MDI’s guiding principles are that the most effective approach to downtown revitalization is a holistic one; that it addresses economic and community development needs; and that it provides a framework of interrelated activities that promote positive change in a downtown to keep it healthy and prosperous.

The LRRP program provided technical assistance by consultant teams with expertise in effective strategies to stabilize business districts. Applicants were matched with consultant team(s). There is a total of $9.5 million in technical assistance available, whether, from a small-town center or a group of business districts within a large city, interested applicants were encouraged to apply. Streetsense assisted DHCD in administering the overall program.

Program Website

Services Provided

  • Perform a business survey – total business closures, vacant storefronts, business owner needs.
  • Evaluate regulatory, zoning, and permitting processes as a potential impediment to business activity.
  • Identify, diagnose, and deliver processes for 10-15 actionable projects for each community.
  • Draft and deliver a comprehensive plan and report according to an established template.
  • Draft and deliver a Marketing Toolkit for the LRRP communities to aid in their recovery programming
  • Developed and moderated two (2) LRRP programmatic webinars