Richard Liang Among Volunteers of the Year Honored at 18th Annual Boston Main Streets Awards

On June 26, 2014, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, together with Department of Neighborhood Development Director Sheila Dillon and emcee Susan Wornick, attended the 18th annual Boston Main Streets Awards. At the event, he presented awards to the Boston Main Streets volunteers and businesses of the year, and highlighted significant new funds from the Boston Main Streets Foundation. Richard Liang and Crown Royal Bakery were honorees for Chinatown Main Street. The ceremony, which took place at the historic Strand Theatre in Dorchester, featured entertainment by the Fiddle Head Theatre’s cast of Aida.

Picture from 2014 Chinatown Main Street Festival on June 22 (photo by David Li).

“This event is special because we get to honor the people in the neighborhoods who are making our Main Streets districts vibrant and welcoming places to shop and do business. This year, we are going to introduce even more new partnerships, technology and services to help our small businesses thrive, grow, and adapt in this changing economy,” said Mayor Walsh. “Investment in Main Streets is investment in the lifeblood of our city – it preserves and protects our neighborhood commercial centers, supports new businesses, and creates new jobs.”

At the event, Mayor Walsh also congratulated the Boston Main Streets Foundation for its successful fundraising on behalf of the districts. In response to a challenge from Mayor Walsh, the Foundation has raised $350,000 to date and is on track to meet its goal of $500,000 by the fall.

The Foundation, which provides financial and strategic support to the Boston Main Streets program, provides additional funding to the Main Streets in the form of competitive “Innovation & Impact Grants.” These grants, launched last year, provides up to $5,000 for proposals that provide new or enhanced programming, services, or partnership opportunities that benefit Main Streets commercial districts and small businesses. In the program’s inaugural year, the Foundation awarded $72,000 in 16 Innovation & Impact Grants to local Main Streets districts.

In the current funding round, Sklar announced, the Foundation will provide eight new grants to Main Streets districts, totaling $40,000. Winners include:
Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets – to create an expanded business directory that will be distributed to the residents as well as all the merchants, event attendees, and surrounding areas to bring shoppers into the district and to hire a consultant to assist all Bowdoin Geneva businesses with setting up a Facebook page.
Brighton Main Streets – to restore Brighton’s “Brighton Bulls” public art, offering the district the opportunity to reintroduce the project to the community, redesign their logo, and overhaul their web site.

Dudley Square Main Streets – to ESL Classes for twelve immigrant businesses. The curriculum is geared toward English that will help merchants with expanding their customer base to more English speaking customers and serving their existing customers better.

Hyde Jackson Square Main Streets – to develop an “Open for Business during Construction” pilot project to research, design, implement, test and analyze a plan to reduce the negative impacts of a 12 – 16 month street construction project by Boston Water & Sewer Commission and National Grid.

Hyde Park Main Streets – to redesign and re-establishing their Farmers’ Market after a one year hiatus. The funds will be used to hire a part-time market manager for the season and for overhead costs – banners, a tent, a cart to move equipment from the office to the market site, and marketing materials.

JP Center South Main Streets – to create the Centre/South News Program, “What’s Up JP?” a 24/7, 365 days per year news and event program. JPCS will install television monitors in 2 -3 identified prominent storefront locations. Mission Hill Main Streets – to update their headquarters by creating a tromp l’oeil vintage storefront design on the building façade to complement the abutting buildings and enhance the appearance of the streetscape.

Washington Gateway Main Street – to create “The Listener History”, a data visualization method that will serve as a catalyst for interaction between people and provides the ability to affect the built environment.

Foundation president Joel Sklar said, “The Boston Main Streets Foundation is thrilled to award this latest round of Innovation & Impact grants. With this round, the BMSF will have provided a total of 24 grants, totaling more than $110,000, to local Main Streets districts. We are proud to be a partner in supporting Boston Main Streets, and glad that these funds will empower Main Streets organizations to produce exciting new outcomes in our neighborhoods.”

In addition to the Foundation awards, Mayor Walsh also presented awards to Main Streets’ businesses and volunteers of the year. From among the hundreds of Main Streets volunteers who gave more than 26,000 hours of time in 2013, each district chose one volunteer to honor as “Volunteer of the Year.” This year’s Outstanding Volunteers are:

  • Allston Village – Anthony Toppi
  • Bowdoin/Geneva – Megan Sonderegger
  • Brighton – Mary O’Grady
  • Chinatown – Richard Liang
  • Dudley Square – Jean Richardson
  • East Boston – Marygrace Gravallese
  • Egleston Square – Logan Keck
  • Fields Corner –  Nadene Fallon
  • Four Corners – Iris DuPont-Hurley
  • Greater Grove Hall- Robert Hector
  • Hyde/Jackson Square – Jennifer Licht
  • Hyde Park – Carlos Vargas
  • JP Centre/South – Ed Forte
  • Mattapan Square- Latarsha Ancrum
  • Mission Hill – Gloria Murray
  • Roslindale Village – Kristen Halbert
  • St. Mark’s Area – James Buckley
  • Upham’s Corner – Cortney Trudel
  • Washington Gateway – Bob Wells
  • West Roxbury – Carl Koebler

In his remarks to awardees, Mayor Walsh referred to Boston’s small businesses as “the back bone of our commercial districts,” providing products and services important to the people who live and work in the neighborhoods. Each Main Streets district has chosen one business to honor as Business of the Year. The 2013 Outstanding Businesses include:

  • Allston Village – Garlic ’n Lemons
  • Bowdoin/Geneva – Brothers Wine and Spirits
  • Brighton – Oak Square YMCA
  • Chinatown – Crown Royal Bakery
  • Dudley Square – Fire Code Design
  • East Boston – Law Office of Manuel Macias
  • Egleston Square – Nelly’s Fragrances & Flowers
  • Fields Corner – D’Benny’s Subs and More
  • Four Corners – S.B.K.’s Convenience Food Store
  • Greater Grove Hall – Touch 106.1 FM
  • Hyde/Jackson Square – Evelyn’s Market
  • Hyde Park – Bean & Cream
  • JP Centre/South –Caramelo Clothing Company
  • Mattapan Square – Mattapan Square Mobil Enterprise, Inc.
  • Mission Hill – Sofia’s Alteration and Cleaners
  • Roslindale Village – Yang’s Martial Arts Association of Boston
  • St. Mark’s Area – Back to Life Chiropractic and Wellness
  • Upham’s Corner –Discount Shoes Store
  • Washington Gateway –Boston Chops
  • West Roxbury – Wicked Sharp Ski and Sports

About Boston Main Streets The Boston Main Streets initiative was created in 1995, as the first urban, multi-district Main Streets program in the nation, with the goal of establishing thriving commercial districts throughout the city. Named by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change as one of 19 “Solutions for America,” Boston Main Streets continues to empower individuals in both the small business sector and residents to have a direct role in the economic health, physical appearance, and development of their own community. Today, Boston Main Streets provides funding and technical assistance to 20 neighborhood-based Main Streets districts throughout the City of Boston and has served as a national model to urban areas seeking to revitalize neighborhood commercial districts including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Detroit, and New Orleans.

About Boston Main Streets FoundationThe mission of the BMSF is to provide financial and strategic support to the Boston Main Streets program and local districts. The Boston Main Streets Foundation raises funds from the private sector and foundations to:

  • Spark new, innovative and scalable outcomes in Boston’s twenty Main Streets neighborhood commercial districts
  • to empower local Main Streets districts to produce new & improved results
  • and to leverage funders’ contributions to maximize resources & impact

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