The ReImagine North of Main project has received $1.9 million to transform the North of Main neighborhood in Fitchburg into a vibrant community where people want to live, work, play and invest. The overall theme is to brand the neighborhood as the “Gateway to Arts and Culture.” To do this, the project is focusing on three key areas: Neighborhood Development to increase the quality of neighborhood life; Economic Development to increase the number of viable main street businesses; and Community Engagement.
- MassDevelopment designated the Downtown Fitchburg district under its Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) program. The 3-year program includes a TDI Fellow, a real estate professional who will work on achieving the vision for the district. It also includes opportunities for real estate TA, capital investment, and grant programs. Of the 26 Gateway Cities eligible, Fitchburg was one of two selected. The goal is to concentrate revitalization efforts, resources and investments in a compact downtown area, creating a critical mass of activity.
- In April 2018, the Fitchburg City Council approved the sale of the B.F. Brown Building, which was damaged by a fire, to NewVue Communities. NewVue will use the insurance settlement of $1.6 million to renovate the building to be used as artist living and work space. Renovation is critical to the branding of the neighborhood as the “Gateway to Arts and Culture.”
- In addition to the grants from the Foundation, other organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, contributed another $2.1 million, bringing the total direct investment in the project to date to more than $4 million. In addition, the project can take some measure of credit for helping the community leverage other investments totaling more than $25.5 million and an additional $55.5 million in pipeline capital projects, bringing the total community impact to date to $85 million, as of December 2019.
ReImagine North of Main is led by Fitchburg State University and includes the Montachusett Opportunity Council, the City of Fitchburg, the Fitchburg Art Museum, NewVue Communities, Three Pyramids, and The Minority Coalition as partners. This project also received over $600,000 in funding from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
For more information, visit the ReImagine North of Main website.
◊ Fund Drive Aims for Fitchburg Alley Makeover
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May 9, 2019, ReImagine North of Main
◊ BF Brown topping-off ceremony in Fitchburg (Video)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, November 27, 2018, ReImagine North of Main.
◊ Bringing a building back to life in Fitchburg
Sentinel & Enterprise, November 27, 2018, ReImagine North of Main
◊ Former Fitchburg school sold for residential project
Worcester Business Journal, July 25, 2018, ReImagine North of Main
◊ Initiative gives boost to Fitchburg downtown transformation
Sentinel & Enterprise, May 4, 2018, ReImagine North of Main
◊ Fitchburg council backs sale of former school for artist studios
Sentinel & Enterprise, April 12, 2018, ReImagine North of Main