The Boston Main Streets Foundation recently awarded $32,500 in Impact & Innovation Grants to seven Boston Main Streets Districts, including two local Jamaica Plain Main Street programs.
JP Centre/South Main Streets received $3,500 for a First Thursday Scavenger Hunt, and Three Squares Main Street (formerly Hyde Jackson Square Main Street) received $5,000 for the Hyde Square Mode Shift initiative.
The $3,500 to JP Centre/South Main Streets will go to 10 First Thursday Scavenger Hunts that will highlight six businesses with a monthly theme such as art, food, gifts, health, or kids. The scavenger hunts will utilize the JP Centre/South StriveOn app, which was launched in 2018 and utilizes a multi-media approach to shopping the district. When the user finds and visits the business featured in the scavenger hunt, that business will provide a sample, a taste, a free gift or discount with purchase, a 5-minute class, a quick tour, or any number of ways that are available to them to engage the visitor in their business. The goal of the scavenger hunts is to promote late Thursday business hours and create new, more successful revenue opportunities for the businesses in the district.
The $5,000 to Three Squares Main Street will go to the Hyde Square Mode Shift initiative, which aims to make parking more available for customers in the neighborhood by encouraging workers in small store-front businesses to travel to and from work by other modes of transportation besides driving. Partnering with the MBTA, Blue Bikes, the Boston Transportation Department, store-front businesses, and area transportation advocates, Three Squares Main Street will provide transit passes, Bluebikes memberships (Greater Boston's bike-share program), and incentives to carpoolers who change their commuting behaviors by switching from driving to alternative transportation modes. The initiative will target employees and business owners who already drive to and from work and park in spaces on public streets and in the city-owned municipal parking lot.
The Impact & Innovation Grants seek to spark new, innovative, and scalable programs in Boston's Main Streets neighborhoods and demonstrate results. Since 2005, the Foundation has invested over $3 million of funds raised from the Greater Boston business community to support the Boston Main Streets mission: making Boston's neighborhood commercial districts thriving, vibrant centers of commerce and community.
"The neighborhoods are the center of Boston's civic and cultural life. By driving foot traffic to the Boston Main Streets commercial districts, we're not only giving a boost to local businesses, we're also enriching the lives of residents, neighbors, and visitors by showing them the many hidden gems all across the City," said Joel Sklar, Board Chair of the Boston Main Streets Foundation, via press release.
"The small businesses in our Main Streets districts add vibrancy to our communities and employ our neighbors, and it is vital that we support these businesses in their efforts to grow and thrive here in the City of Boston," said Mayor Marty Walsh via press release. "Boston's Main Streets districts are the heart of Boston's neighborhoods, and I look forward to seeing how these grants lift up businesses and help communities innovate."