Methuen, Lawrence and Andover Receive Grants to Help Downtowns Bounce Back After COVID-19

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Gov. Charlie Baker. (Photograph by Matt Stone/Boston Herald/Pool.)

Methuen, Lawrence and Andover are among 125 communities across the state receiving state money to support downtowns after the impact of COVID-19 on businesses.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox said Tuesday communities will partner with consultants to pursue “locally-driven, actionable strategies to support downtown and commercial districts.”

“As we continue to navigate the pandemic and work toward recovery, our administration remains committed to collaborating with the local officials that know their communities best to address their unique challenges,” said Polito.

What is known as the Local Rapid Recovery Planning program is part of the administration’s Partnerships for Recovery Plan to help communities stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan invests in efforts to get people back to work, support small businesses, foster innovation, revitalize downtowns and keep people in stable housing. The grants help downtown and commercial districts and benefit more than 15,000 small businesses across the state.

Kennealy said, “These investments are critical to helping our downtowns rebound from the impacts caused by this public health crisis, and will ensure our communities can develop individual plans to become more resilient and responsive to unexpected challenges.”

The Massachusetts Downtown Initiative offers money to pursue projects that help residents and small businesses, including parking management, wayfinding, branding and access. The program also helps cities create community spaces that preserve and enhance local character, enhance accessibility, walkability and transportation, and promote downtown living.

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