Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined Boston Main Street Directors, city officials, and community leaders in Roslindale Village to highlight increased funding for Boston’s 20 Main Street Districts on April 14. As outlined in Mayor Walsh’s FY15 budget, released this week, Main Streets District funding will increase by $400,000 over last year, with each Main Streets District receiving $75,000 annually from the City — a 30 percent increase.
“Investing in our Main Streets districts preserves and protects our neighborhood commercial centers, and helps our small businesses thrive, grow, and adapt to the changing economy,” said Mayor Walsh. “Access to a variety of retail in neighborhoods is critical to maintaining robust and connected communities.”
Main Streets Districts programs across Boston offer varying business support services and programs, often unique to the needs of each district. Recent programs have included enhanced cleanliness programs, storefront improvement programs, promotional events, farmers markets, and social media training events. The increased funding will be used to implement innovative new programs to continue the critical support work.
The Roslindale Village Main Street District was the first urban Main Street District in the country. With more than a dozen ethnic grocers, bakeries, small family restaurants, and specialty shops, it is a shopping and food destination for the community and the Greater Boston area. The increase in funding will enable Roslindale Village Main Streets to explore potential programs such as a year-round model for their Saturday farmers market, which currently attracts more than 3,000 people on Saturdays throughout the spring and summer.
Mayor Walsh identified the increased funding in his $2.7 billion Operating Budget for fiscal year 2015. Other planned projects in Boston’s Main Streets Districts include free public WiFi, and a new partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Department of Neighborhood Development that will invest in neighborhood innovation and incubator space, funding for programs such as crowdsourcing to identify community need, and other resources to look at challenges such as access to capital and the way vacant storefronts are filled with new potential businesses.
There are more than 4,000 businesses across Boston’s 20 Main Streets Districts. The Boston Main Streets initiative was created in 1995, as the first urban, multi-district Main Streets program in the nation, with the goal of establishing thriving commercial districts throughout the city. Named by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change as one of 19 “Solutions for America,” Boston Main Streets continues to empower individuals in both the small business sector and residents to have a direct role in the economic health, physical appearance, and development of their own community. Today, Boston Main Streets provides funding and technical assistance to 20 neighborhood-based Main Streets districts throughout the City of Boston and has served as a national model to urban areas seeking to revitalize neighborhood commercial districts including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Detroit, and New Orleans.
Districts include: Allston Village Main Streets, Brighton Main Streets, Chinatown Main Street, Dudley Square Main Streets, East Boston Main Streets, Egleston Square Main Street, Fields Corner Main Street, Four Corners Main Street, Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, Hyde/Jackson Square Main Street, Hyde Park Main Streets, JP/Centre South Main Streets, Mission Hill Main Streets, Mattapan Square Main Streets, Roslindale Village Main Street, St Mark’s Area Main Street, Upham’s Corner Main Street, Washington Gateway Main Street, and West Roxbury Main Streets.