Grants to help create a buzz in neighborhoods
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A new mini-grant program was announced Wednesday by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl during a ceremony at Cannon Coffee in Brookline, the first recipient of the city's "biz buzz" grant program to promote small neighborhood retail corridors.
The purpose is to use social media to create a buzz about retail corridors that need more foot traffic.
Thirty districts that do not benefit from Main Street program funding are eligible. Applicants will start the process by planning their activities with staff from the city Urban Redevelopment Authority and can get up to $7,000 and additional technical assistance.
"Our neighborhood business districts are the heartbeat of our communities and this program will strengthen them," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "The Biz Buzz program gives small businesses and volunteers the tools to make an immediate impact on their districts, much like our Love Your Block revitalization program, which increases community pride and beautifies neighborhood streets."
"When talking with groups, we have been stressing the '48x48x48' strategy to determine what a business district group can accomplish in 48 hours, 48 days and 48 weeks," said Josette Fitzgibbons, the URA's Biz Buzz project manager and Mainstreets coordinator. "We want these ideas to come from the community. We're encouraging the community to be creative and focus on what is unique and cool about their district."
During the event, the mayor presented Nate Mallory, Brookline Chamber of Commerce board member and owner of Cannon Coffee, a check for $2,500.
"Our proposal is designed to encourage neighborhood residents to shop locally and to rebrand the Brookline Boulevard as an entire business district -- not just a couple of bakeries and a few restaurants," said Mr. Mallory. "With the help of the Biz Buzz funding, we're hoping to get the word out about Brookline and bring in new customers -- and possibly new residents!"
The URA's Biz Buzz team is also working with groups in Beechview and Elliott, and will present up to eight grants with the current $45,000 in URA funding. The URA will seek state and city money to expand the program in 2013.
For more information on the Biz Buzz Small Grant Program, visit URA.org.
First Published August 2, 2012 12:00 am