NEW BEDFORD, MA – A fund to help small businesses improve their facades; a coordinator to build the capacity for them to work together collectively; special events to fill the street; and a determination to further activate the economic and cultural renaissance underway on The Ave.
These are the core objectives of an Urban Agenda Grant awarded by MA Governor Charles Baker’s administration to the Community Economic Development Center (CEDC) in New Bedford for the broader Love The Ave community campaign.
The Urban Agenda grant program offers funding, on a competitive basis, to local partnerships in selected urban communities, to implement projects that are based on creative collaborative work models with the goal advancing and achieving economic progress.
Love The Ave is a committee of diverse community members and municipal leaders dedicated to promoting the equally diverse commercial corridor, Acushnet Avenue and all of New Bedford’s North End. In addition to the CEDC, it is supported by the office of Mayor Jon Mitchell and the New Bedford Economic Development Council.
The group’s mission statement states, “Acushnet Avenue in the City of New Bedford, MA has a beloved past, dynamic present and thrilling future as the heart of the North End.”
In all, 23 projects were awarded Urban Agenda Grants this year. The “Love The Ave” grant is worth $100,000 – and work is already underway to implement its goals.
A plan to map each and every storefront along The Ave has begun, to be followed by an outreach effort to engage all small business owners, stakeholders and residents of this diverse commercial corridor in the city.
Acushnet Avenue and the surrounding area has seen an influx of Latino and Hispanic businesses, residents and social groups in recent years. This urban agenda plan seeks to strengthen their role in transforming and stabilizing the streetscape here, as well as all members of the community in the North End.
Separately, the City of New Bedford is supporting the Love The Ave campaign with the launch of a new cultural night on The Ave this June, followed by the third edition of the destination-creating Love The Ave & North End New Bedford Restaurant Week in September, 2020.