TURNERS FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – A grant was awarded to the Brick House Community Resource Center for the development of a pocket park in downtown Turners Falls.
According to a news release sent to 22News from MassDevelopment, a $9,880 grant will transform an alley into a pocket park located off Avenue A and will feature three separate garden pods and a space for community events.
At this new park called Alley Culture, there will be three socially distanced gardens so people can come together safely. Designer and Project Manager Peter Wackernagel told 22News, “Public spaces are really an essential part of our communities and are a type of social infrastructure that really helps generate and reproduce our communities and make for stronger more resilient places for us to live.”
The grant was awarded through MassDevelopment’s special Commonwealth Places COVID-19 Response Round: Resurgent Places. The opportunity is made to assist local economic recovery efforts prepare public spaces in commercial districts for residents and visitors.
“Before this pandemic, the vibrant centers of our cities and towns were not only a driving force behind the strength of local economies, they were the places where we gathered to dine, to shop, and to be entertained, and the Commonwealth Places program is one way that we can help these areas bounce back stronger than ever,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “The Baker-Polito Administration continues to support downtowns and town centers through various economic recovery programs, and these Resurgent Places grants are providing non-profit community organizations with the resources to activate public spaces, boost economic activity, and support an equitable recovery.”
“MassDevelopment is pleased to help the Brick House Community Resource Center convert an underutilized alleyway into a space that benefits the downtown business district and the Turners Falls community at large,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “By reimagining these types of public spaces, cities and towns can increase foot traffic in their downtown neighborhoods and forge relationships that advance vibrant local economies.”
The Commonwealth Places program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From August through October 2020 grants of $224,965 were awarded for 21 placemaking projects across Massachusetts. A second round of funding was announced in December 2020 of $390,000 was made available.