The ReImagine North of Main project received $2.1 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 was to brand the neighborhood as the “Gateway to Arts and Culture.” To do this, the project focused 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 included a TDI Fellow, a real estate professional who worked on achieving the vision for the district. It also included opportunities for real estate TA, capital investment, and grant programs. Of the 26 Gateway Cities eligible, Fitchburg was one of two selected. The goal was 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, to NewVue Communities. NewVue is renovating 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 $2.1 million from the Foundation, other organizations, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and state government, contributed another $2.9 million, bringing the total direct investment in the project to $5 million. The project can take some measure of credit for helping the community leverage other investments totaling more than $50.4 million and an additional $32.1 million in pipeline capital projects, bringing the total community impact to date to $87.5 million, as of January 2021.
Collaborative community efforts will continue with: Fitchburg State University funding the project coordinator position and the Resident Leadership Institute; NewVue Communities funding the Community Stewards; and NewVue and Fitchburg Arts Museum constructing the Fitchburg Arts Community (apartments and studios).
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