Fitchburg Gets $60G Economic Development Grant

January 18, 2019
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Mayor Stephen DiNatale, far right, Fitchburg State University President Richard Lapidus, second from right, state Sen. Dean Tran, R-Fitchburg, left, and state Rep. Stephan Hay, D-Fitchburg, at the ideaLab at Fitchburg State University, where nine grants totaling $500,000 in economic development grants were announced. Fitchburg received $60,000. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE/JOHN LOVE Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

FITCHBURG -- A half a million dollars in state grants divvied up among the city and other urban communities in the state will help support projects that drive economic development.

“If you stack them up, they add up to a lot,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who joined city officials and nonprofit leaders from the across the state at Fitchburg State University’s ideaLab in the Theater Block Thursday.

A total of nine grants totaling $500,000 were awarded to Fitchburg and other communities through the Urban Agenda Grant Program, which focuses on economic vitality and building safer and stronger urban neighborhoods.

Polito awarded a $60,000 grant to Fitchburg State that will support programming at the ideaLab and provide resources for entrepreneurs to develop businesses.

She called the university an asset to the city for producing graduates who want to start their businesses and stay in the community after completing their education.

FSU President Richard Lapidus said the last time Polito visited the ideaLab was when it was just a shell. He was pleased to have her see the finished space and receive the grant that will help revitalize downtown.

“It all boils down to having strong, local leadership and creation of an impactful program that changes the way your community operates,” Lapidus said.

Mayor Stephen DiNatale said the grant is another tool in the city’s toolbox that can help Fitchburg stand out.

Award recipients from as far as Barnstable and other cities like Worcester, Boston, and Springfield accepted them from Polito. The other communities plan to use the Urban Agenda funding for programs and support services.

Fitchburg is among more than 50 communities across the state -- those defined as urban centers, gateway cities, and those with a median household income below the state average -- that are eligible for the grant.

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