March 23rd Information &
Resource Update
Standing With Our AAPI Communities

The 495/MetroWest Partnership stands with our AAPI communities, and condemns the rising acts of hatred, intolerance, and violence directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, and closer to home. We encourage our coalition partners exploring resources to visit In response to the alarming escalation in xenophobia and bigotry resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asian Pacific Planning and Policy Council (A3PCON), Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA), and the Asian American Studies Department of San Francisco State University launched the Stop AAPI Hate reporting center on March 19th, 2020. The center tracks and responds to incidents of hate, violence, harassment, discrimination, shunning, and child bullying against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders throughout the United States.
Housing Committee Meeting This Thursday

The Housing Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership will host its first meeting this Thursday, March 25th at 8:30 AM. We are excited to host two presentations, to be followed by Question and Answer periods:

  • Amy Dain, Consultant, Dain Research, and author of The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston, will present on the current state of housing in our region

  • Chris Kluchman, Deputy Director of the Community Services Division at the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), will present an overview of the state’s new Housing Choice legislation and its implementation

This event will take place remotely via Zoom; click here to register. Partnership committee meetings are open to all interested persons, with advance registration.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Housing Committee was established by vote of the Partnership’s Executive Steering Committee in the Fall of 2020, and will focus on the issue of housing in the region, addressing topics including but not limited to affordable housing, workforce housing, senior housing, transit-oriented and mixed-use development, zoning as it pertains to housing, and the impact of housing on the region’s economy and resources.
CDFI & CDC Capital Match Program Now Accepting Applications

In accordance with the Commonwealth’s economic development plan, Partnerships for Growth, the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation's (MGCC) CDFI & CDC Capital Match Program seeks to spur job creation across the state, support entrepreneurship and small business recovery, sustainability, resilience, and growth by lowering the barriers to capital access faced by small businesses. In FY2021, MGCC will award grants to eligible non-profit community-based lenders with a proven history and track record of small business lending and investment in underserved communities in Massachusetts.

Successful grantees will leverage state funds, along with significant non-state capital sources, to provide small businesses with direct loans and grants. In addition, allowance for loan loss reserves and creation of new loan fund programs will also be supported by this the CDFI & CDC Capital Match Program.

Applications opened yesterday, and will close on April 19th at 11:59pm EST. Award amounts will not exceed $1,250,000. Award disbursements will be at the discretion of MGCC depending on the structure of the applicant’s matching funds. Click here to view general program information, and click here to download the full RFP.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program to
Begin Accepting Applications April 8th

The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program was established by last year's Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act. The program includes over $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.

Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees.

SBA has announced that the program will begin accepting applications on Thursday, April 8th. Eligible entities include:
  • Live venue operators or promoters
  • Theatrical producers
  • Live performing arts organization operators
  • Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
  • Motion picture theater operators
  • Talent representatives

MBTA Virtual Public Meetings:
Fare Transformation, Future Retail Locations

The MBTA will be hosting three virtual public meetings later this month to raise awareness about their Fare Transformation program and to solicit feedback on identifying future retail locations for purchasing Charlie Cards. Starting in 2021, the MBTA will consistently collect fares using transit gates for Commuter Rail trips originating at terminal stations. By 2024, the Charlie Card will be operable across all MBTA modes. 

In the future, riders will be able to purchase their MBTA fares and passes online, via their smartphones, and with contactless credit/debit cards. The MBTA is also expanding acceptance of cash by building a larger network of retailers, in-station fare vending machines, and new streetscape fare vending machines at bus stops and Green Line stations across the network.

The MBTA has conducted a Point of Sale Distribution and Equity Analysis to identify where new sales locations should be added. Now, the MBTA is seeking public input to ensure their analysis did not miss critical locations.

Interested participants should register for the date of their choice using one of the links below:

Accessibility accommodations and language services will be provided free of charge, upon request, as available. Such services include documents in alternate formats, translated materials, assistive listening devices, and interpreters (including American Sign Language).
Westborough, Natick Seeking Business Community Input
on Draft Climate Action Plans

Westborough: The Westborough Climate Action Plan Task Force has released a draft of the Westborough Climate Action Plan, and is requesting feedback from business stakeholders in Westborough. The draft Westborough Climate Action Plan, along with a comment form, can be found here. The Task Force welcomes feedback at any time, and is willing to engage with business leaders one-on-one as desired. Comments submitted by March 26th can be taken under advisement prior to the target publication date in mid-April.

Natick: The Natick Sustainability Committee is inviting the business community to comment on its Draft Net Zero Action Plan. The Plan was developed in response to a resolution adopted at Natick's 2018 Annual Fall Town Meeting, and proposes 21 actions the Town should pursue in the next five years to support its goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Input can be provided via email to Jillian Wilson Martin, Natick's Sustainability Coordinator, at Natick's Draft Net Zero Action Plan can be found here.
Upcoming Partnership Events

All Partnership events and committee meetings are being held virtually, via Zoom, at present. Committee meetings are open to all interested persons with advance registration.

  • Housing Committee Meeting: Thursday, March 25th at 8:30 AM. The Housing Committee will host its first meeting this Thursday, March 25th at 8:30 AM. This session will feature two presentations: Amy Dain of Dain Research, and author of The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston, will present on the current state of housing in our region; and Chris Kluchman, Deputy Director of the Community Services Division at DHCD will present an overview of the state’s new Housing Choice legislation. Click here to register for the meeting.

  • Water Resources Committee Meeting: Tuesday, March 30th at 8:30 AM. The Water Resources Committee will host a presentation from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the MWRA Advisory Board on Tuesday, March 30th at 8:30 AM. The presentation will focus on MWRA’s activities and services in the Partnership’s service region, and will be followed by a Q&A. Click here to register for the meeting.

  • Transportation Committee Meeting: Wednesday, March 31st at 8:30 AM. The Transportation Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership invites you to join us for a discussion with Congressman Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts’ Fourth Congressional District on Wednesday, March 31st at 8:30 AM. Serving his first term, Congressman Auchincloss has been assigned to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As Congress forges ahead on a significant infrastructure package and invites Members to request transportation and infrastructure “earmarks” for the first time in a decade, Congressman Auchincloss specifically requests your input on priority projects for your communities. Click here to register for the meeting.  
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.