January 13th Information &
Resource Update
Small Business Relief Grant Program: Deadline Friday

Applications for the $668 million state program to provide financial assistance to Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic remain open, with the deadline approaching this Friday, January 15th, at 11:59 PMClick here to access complete program details as well as the online application portal.

The program, titled the "Sector-Specific Relief Grant Program for Massachusetts Businesses," is being administered through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).

In order to be eligible for this program, a business must:
  • Have a physical establishment in Massachusetts
  • Be a for-profit entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, cooperative or LLC)
  • Be able to document a loss of income equal to or greater than requested assistance due to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Be currently in operation, or if not in operation must have an intent to reopen
  • Have been established prior to June 30th, 2019
  • Be in good standing with the state and its city/town (current on all taxes due through March 1st, 2020, and have active and valid state licenses/registrations, if applicable)

The following businesses and organizations are NOT eligible for this program:
  • Real estate rentals/sales businesses
  • Businesses owned by persons under age 18
  • Businesses that are chains (chains are defined as businesses not headquartered in Massachusetts with multiple locations)
  • Franchisees
  • Liquor stores
  • Weapons/firearms dealers
  • Lobbyists
  • Cannabis-related businesses
  • Non-profit organizations

Businesses can receive up to $75,000, capped at up to 3 months of operating expenses, as evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns. Grant amounts will be considered for actual expenses for 2020 during the pandemic. Expenses can be considered since March 10th, 2020, given that it does not exceed 3 months of operating expenses evidenced by 2019 Federal Tax Returns.

Eligible use of the funds will include:
  • Employee payroll and benefit costs
  • Mortgage interest
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Interest on other debt obligations

Recipients may not apply funds awarded through this program to any expense that has been or will be covered by another source of federal or state funding, including but not limited to the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.

SBA Re-opens Paycheck Protection Program

On Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) re-opened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan portal. 

Businesses can apply for a First Draw PPP Loan until March 31st. A First Draw PPP loan is for those borrowers who have yet to receive a PPP loan before the program closed in August 2020. Interested businesses can visit SBA Lender Match online to be matched with a participating PPP lender.

PPP is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. First Draw PPP Loans can be used to help fund payroll costs, including benefits, and may also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible expenses.

PPP access during this round is at first being given exclusively to community financial institutions (CFIs) including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and Microloan Intermediaries. Additional lenders will be able to submit First and Second draw PPP loan applications this week.  

As of today, participating CFIs may begin submitting application information to SBA for Second Draw PPP loans. A Second Draw PPP loan is for certain eligible borrowers that previously received a PPP loan, generally have 300 employees or less, and have suffered a 25% reduction in gross receipts. At least $15 billion is set aside for additional PPP lending by CFIs.

MassDevelopment Announces Additional
"Commonwealth Places" Funding

MassDevelopment will award up to $390,000 in Commonwealth Places grant funding prior to June 30th. Applications to the program will be considered on a rolling basis.

Commonwealth Places is a competitive opportunity to advance locally-driven placemaking in downtown and neighborhood commercial districts in eligible communities throughout Massachusetts. Placemaking is a collaborative process through which people in communities work together to improve public spaces and maximize their shared value. The process facilitates creative patterns of use, and leverages the local physical, cultural, and social assets that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.

This round is intended to complement MassDOT’s Shared Streets & Spaces program, a grant program that provides grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for municipalities to quickly launch or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities.  

Awards will be made in two funding categories: “Implementation Grants” and “Seed Grants.”

Category 1: Seed Grants: Seed grants should be used to fund inclusive community engagement, visioning, and local capacity building that will support future placemaking efforts. MassDevelopment will award individual grants of between approximately $250 and $7,500 to projects within this funding category.

Category 2: Implementation Grants: MassDevelopment will award individual grants of up to $50,000 for the implementation of locally led placemaking projects. Up to $10,000 per project may be awarded as an unmatched grant. Any amount of grant funding over and above that $10,000 (not to exceed $50,000) must be matched on a 1:1 basis with crowdfunding.  

Nonprofits and community groups are eligible to apply. Grant funds for projects providing benefits to communities will be available to nonprofit organizations, as well as to for-profit organizations under appropriate circumstances.

For more information about applying to the Commonwealth Places Program:

MassDOT Virtual Design Public Hearing:
Routes 9 & 126 Interchange, Framingham

A Virtual Design Public Hearing will be published on the MassDOT website linked here on February 2nd to present the design for the proposed drainage improvements on Route 9 at Route 126 interchange and salt shed relocation project in Framingham.  

The proposed project consists of drainage improvement on Route 9 at Route 126 since there has been consistent flooding within the area. The project is a drainage project and will not include bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. The purpose of this hearing is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed project. All views and comments submitted in response to the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible. Click here to access a flyer for this hearing.  

Written statements and other exhibits regarding the proposed undertaking are to be submitted to Patricia A. Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer, via e-mail to MassDOTProjectManagement@dot.state.ma.us or via US Mail to Suite 6340, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Hung Pham, Stormwater Program Coordinator, Environmental, Project File No. 608836. Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be postmarked no later than ten 10 business days after the hearing is posted to the MassDOT website listed below. Project inquiries may be emailed to dot.feedback.highway@state.ma.us.
I-90 Bridge Replacement Work to Continue in January

MassDOT will replace bridges on I-90 east and westbound over Flanders Road in Westborough and Parkerville Road, Cordaville Road, and Woodland Road in Southborough over eight weekends in summer 2021.

Preliminary work to prepare for major construction began on December 2nd, and will continue in January with additional off-peak lane closures on I-90 to collect survey data and relocate a fiber optic cable underground in the Flanders Road southbound shoulder.

The Flanders Road work will take place Monday through Friday during daytime hours.

Click here for more information about the project. Questions about the work or issues related to the work may be directed to A8@dot.state.ma.us.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you:
Jason Palitsch, Executive Director
(774) 760-0495 x105

Thank you for your continued commitment to strengthening our region.