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


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.

Chris Mercurio and Jacob Tosti

Christopher Mercurio focuses his practice on all aspects of real estate law including drafting and negotiating purchase and sale agreements, leases, and loan documents, as well as analyzing and resolving title and zoning issues. During Law School, Chris served as Editor-In-Chief of the BU Law School Review of Banking and Financial Law. In 2013 he was a Judicial Intern to the Honorable Keith C. Long, in the Massachusetts Land Court, and he was a Law Clerk with DeMoura & Smith, a general practice law firm in Boston. While in law school he was a Research Assistant to Professor James Fleming.

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.

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