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Lynn receives $25,000 grant to upgrade downtown storefronts

Approximately 85 businesses have taken advantage of the program since it began in 2009, with a majority located in the downtown. Those businesses have included R.F. O'Sullivans, Rossetti Restaurant (above) and Enzo's Pizzeria. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — The city has received a $25,000 grant to supplement its ongoing efforts to spruce up its storefronts. The project is part of the city’s overall endeavor to rehabilitate the downtown.

MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency, has awarded Lynn a Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Local Grant for the city’s Storefront Improvement Program, or Facade Program, according to a letter sent to the city from Andrew Levine, TDI program and project manager for MassDevelopment.

The grant will supplement the $50,000 Lynn’s Community Development Department budgeted for its facade program this year, which is through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

Enzo’s Pizzeria on 129 Oxford St. in Lynn. (Owen O’Rourke)

According to James Marsh, director of community development, businesses will be able to get reimbursed for improvements aimed at making their storefronts more attractive or professional-looking, such as upgrading brickwork, signage or awnings.

To participate, businesses sign up with the Community Development Department by filling out U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development paperwork and provide the city with their plans.

Marsh said his department has reimbursed businesses up to $4,000 with the program in the past, but with the extra funding, that cap could increase to up to $10,000.

“The idea is to clean up the storefronts to make their businesses more attractive and make the downtown as a whole more attractive,” Marsh said. “We’re excited because $4,000 doesn’t go a long way so with the extra grant money from MassDevelopment, we’ll really be able to make an impact on a number of businesses this year.”

Approximately 85 businesses have taken advantage of the program since it began in 2009, with a majority located in the downtown. Those businesses have included R.F. O’Sullivan’s, Rossetti Restaurant and Enzo’s Pizzeria.

Marsh said a MassDevelopment representative will canvass the downtown to identify some businesses that would want to participate in the program.

A spokeswoman for MassDevelopment said the agency had no comment until the grant announcements were officially made.

“We look forward to building on your work and implementing this project further in the TDI district,” Levine writes in the letter.

R.F. O’Sullivan’s on 151 Central Ave. in Lynn. (Owen O’Rourke)

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