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City grants Main Streets designation to Mattapan

Posted by Cara Bayles  November 8, 2010 05:08 PM

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Mattapan Square is officially a part of the city's Main Streets program, meaning it will qualify for federal grant money and considered a target area for economic development.

The designation, which the neighborhood applied for last spring, was granted at the end of the summer, and announced by the Menino administration on Monday afternoon.

In a press release, the mayor said that Mattapan Square has "potential for a successful shopping district that brings people here to dine and shop," and acknowledged the long-time struggle of local leaders to bring the Main Streets program to the square.

In the coming weeks, a Mattapan Square Main Streets Board of Directors will form, and hire an executive director for the main streets program. They'll then create an economic development program catered to Mattapan Square's needs, that will diversify the businesses there, and work on job creation and beautification projects.

Mattapan Square will now benefit from the advice of local architects hired by the city, and a corporate buddy program in which large businesses invest in the area.

A city program based on a model from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Boston Main Streets program already serves 19 communities targeted for economic development. They get a large chunk of the federal Community Development Block Grant awarded to the city annually, which is used to pay staff salaries, awarded to improvement projects, and used for neighborhood marketing and promotion.

The program was started in Roslindale in 1983, and Boston Main Streets was officially incorporated into the national Main Street model in 1995. In the past 15 years, more than $12 million have been raised for Main Streets projects and programs.

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