Local and Regional Economic Development Opportunities Under Massachusetts’ New “Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth”

You may have heard that Governor Baker recently signed House Bill H5250, entitled “An Act enabling partnerships for growth.” We have been closely reviewing this new economic development law, and we are excited to share with you that it contains a wide variety of economic development incentives for both SouthCoast businesses and residents generally, and the Greater New Bedford area in particular.

We found the bill to be surprisingly diverse in the topics addressed and that the funding opportunities are very comprehensive in scope. While some of these grants are designed to address businesses impacted by the COVID pandemic, others are targeted to encourage economic development more generally. Below you will find an outline we prepared to highlight some of the key provisions of the grant and other financial assistance opportunities that may be of interest to you, your business, and our communities at large.

Additionally, we are happy to report that the state has taken steps to streamline the application process for many of these programs. Last week, the state launched a centralized web portal that will soon allow community and individual applicants to submit one, consolidated project application for consideration and collaborative review by at least six different state entities that are responsible for awarding and implementing these new grant programs. This collaborative approach in intended to streamline the process of identifying and supporting projects initiated by a variety of stakeholders, including private industries, municipal entities, community development organizations, non-profits, and the arts.

While the full applications will not be able to be submitted until early May, we have received guidance from the state that STRONGLY encourages potential applicants to any of these programs to submit an optional “Expression of Interest” prior to completing the full application later in the year.

If you or anyone you know would like assistance in exploring or applying for these grant opportunities, please call us!

The new opportunities include the following:

  • $20M in capital and financial assistance for restaurants impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic
  • $10M in financial assistance to accelerate and support the creation and preservation of sustainable & climate resilient affordable multifamily housing
  • $40M for grant and loan assistance targeting the improvement, rehabilitation, redevelopment and reuse of blighted, abandoned, vacant, and underutilized properties
  • $5M for a gateway city housing pilot program to support the construction of shovel-ready, market-rate housing opportunities in gateway municipalities.
  • $50M to support for transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly development of low-income and moderate-income housing and mixed-use spaces
  • $15M for predevelopment assembly, assessment, permitting and marketing activities that enhance predevelopment site readiness for commercial, industrial or mixed-use development
  • $35M for community development financial institutions and community development corporations to leverage federal or private investments to make loans and grants to small businesses
  • $25M for grants to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs to meet certain capital needs of microbusiness development (i.e., ≤20 employees and ≤$2.5M annual revenue)
  • $30M for working capital loans for small businesses severely impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic
  • $20M in competitive grants for non-profit infrastructure and equipment for non-profit arts, cultural, and tourism institutions/organizations that temporarily suspended in-person attendance due to the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic
  • $14M for grants to promote and advertise in-state tourism and improve in-state tourism-related facilities and destinations
  • $6M competitive grant program to support local artists and museums in developing new mediums for showcasing and promoting their work, including developing means of remote access to programming and operation
  • $102.3M for local economic development projects, including:
    • $2M+ in grants for mechanical and technical upgrades at seafood processing facilities to 1) combat the effects of the pandemic on the supply, processing, distribution, and sale of seafood products; 2) limit COVID transmission among the workforce; and 3) undertake further pandemic-related compliance measure
    • $500k+ in competitive grants for the development of startup companies
    • $500k+ for the blue economy initiative at UMASS-Dartmouth
    • $350k+ for Commonwealth Kitchen, Inc. to develop an economic development recovery plan to address food access and security in gateway municipalities
    • $350k+ for infrastructure improvements, ADA upgrades, safety code compliance, and the rehab and renovation of the Cape Verdean Veterans Memorial Hall in New Bedford
    • $100k+ for the safe and sustainable reopening of the Zeiterion Theatre in the City of New Bedford
    • $100k+ for infrastructure improvements and ADA upgrades to New Bedford’s West Beach bathhouse and boathouse
    • $50k+ for celebration of the return of the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey’s return to the City of New Bedford
    • The unexpended balance of certain 2018 funds will be made available for:
    • Renovating the UMASS-Dartmouth Star Store campus in New Bedford into a 21st Century arts and design hub connecting downtown arts, commerce, and entertainment to working waterfront venues/activities
    • Expanding mixed-use development, including immediate site readiness needs, at the New Bedford State Pier
  • $2M in capital grants or other financial assistance for urban farms
  • $20M for grants and other financial assistance focused on promoting economic development, job creation, housing and climate resilience initiatives in small communities
  • $52M for science and technology research projects receiving assistance from the Scientific and Technology Research and Development Matching Grant Fund

As always, we look forward to hearing from you about how we can assist you in making 2021 a prosperous, healthy, and successful year!