MassDevelopment’s “Commonwealth Places” Program Contributes to Successful Project in Downtown Ashland

Bowditch & Dewey

[author: Jacob Tosti, Summer Assocate/Law Student*]

Last month, a new public space named “The Corner Spot” opened in downtown Ashland, Massachusetts, to considerable fanfare. Lauded as a “downtown destination“, the Corner Spot is essentially a community gathering space that features amenities such as porch swings, a café seating area, a book swap spot, a kids play area, and a pop-up store front intended for new businesses. The space will also be hosting a variety of family-friendly events throughout the summer, including board game nights and open mic music sessions. The Corner Spot is a great example of public-private cooperation and community involvement leading to neighborhood revitalization.

Located on a lot that was slated for affordable housing but failed to attract a developer, the Corner Spot owes its existence in part to MassDevelopment’s “Commonwealth Places” program, which provided a $25,000 grant to fund the Spot’s construction. The program, described as a “creative funding mechanism,” for “place-based community-driven projects” requires community revitalization project sponsors to set a crowdfunding goal for their project. If the goal is met within sixty days, MassDevelopment (a governmental economic development authority established in 1998) provides a grant matching the goal amount dollar-for-dollar. It is a testament to the community spirit shared by Ashland residents and businesses that they not only met the $25,000 crowdfunding goal, but also exceeded it, contributing over $38,000 toward the Corner Spot project.

Blog-readers interested in participating in the Commonwealth Places program may wish to visit the MassDevelopment website, which features a list of ongoing and completed community projects and information relating to applications for new projects.  Congratulations to the residents of Ashland for taking the initiative to improve their community.

*Jacob Tosti is a Summer Associate with Bowditch & Dewey, LLP. He currently attends Suffolk University Law School and serves as a Note Editor for the Suffolk University Law Review.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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