The Baker-Polito Administration recently announced $2.2 million in grants to 20 recipients as part of the Destination Development Capital grants, a program created through the economic development bill signed into law by Governor Baker in 2021.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Executive Director Keiko Matsudo Orrall announced the awards on July 28, 2022 at Abolition Row Park in New Bedford. New Bedford Parks Recreation & Beaches is receiving $231,788 for development of the public greenspace in the heart of New Bedford’s Seaport Cultural District.

“Massachusetts’ vibrant  tourism and cultural sectors in cities and towns across the state continue to play a key role in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By making necessary upgrades to these facilities, the Destination Development grants will bolster the Commonwealth’s travel and tourism industry and support continued economic growth.”

“Upgrading the Commonwealth’s tourism infrastructure and cultural facilities is an important way to ensure their value and resilience in the years to come,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These Destination Development Capital program grants will also help support small businesses, spur local economic activity and create jobs.”

The Destination Development Capital program grants provide funding for projects that expand, construct, restore, or renovate Massachusetts tourism destinations and attractions, and aid in destination recovery and resiliency. The aim of the program is to strengthen the Massachusetts economy through projects that enhance tourism resources and infrastructure, especially physical or structural upgrades that have a lifespan of greater than five years.

Examples of projects that received funding include:

  • Franklin County Agricultural Society in Greenfield, for electrical safety updates to improve energy efficiency and provide increased recreational vehicle and food truck power outlets to expedite pandemic recovery of the Franklin County Fairgrounds
  • Town of Wareham, for the renovation of the Onset Bandshell and formal seating area
  • Salisbury Beach Partnership, to help construct the pavilion that will house a historic carousel
  • United States Naval Shipbuilding Museum in Quincy, for technology upgrades to enhance visitor experiences and improve public access and safety

“I want to thank the team at MOTT, under the leadership of Director Orrall, for administering these grants, which will have a lasting, positive effect for Massachusetts’ tourism industry,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “These funds will help amplify tourism and local economic activity in communities across the Commonwealth.”

“Each year, millions of visitors enjoy our cultural facilities, which serve as a welcoming center for our travel and tourism industry,” said MOTT Executive Director Keiko M. Orrall. “Modernizing our cultural assets is an important way to let visitors know we welcome them to Massachusetts.”

Administered by the Tourism Trust Fund, the Destination Development Capital grant program is funded through the Capital Budget. Applicant eligibility selection criteria included any public, nonprofit agency, 501(c)3, 501(c)6, which has been in operation in Massachusetts for at least two consecutive years since January 2020 and is in good standing with taxes and all license and registration requirements in the Commonwealth.

Both the Destination Development Capital and related Travel and Tourism Recovery (TTR) grant programs are in alignment with the Baker-Polito Administration’s Partnerships for Recovery Plan to help stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns, and ensuring housing stability.

“Abolition Row Park marks a critically important chapter in the history of New Bedford and our nation. The story of Frederick Douglass and the pioneering abolitionists who carried forth the spirit of freedom and liberty in the face of tremendous inequality and injustice must be told,” said State Senator Mark Montigny. “Lee Blake has been a tremendous force in preserving our history and keeping the spirit of these trailblazing human rights activists alive. We are thankful to her and the Baker-Polito Administration for their strong support and efforts on this project.”

“The Abolition Row project is a testament to the important role that the people of New Bedford, black and white citizens alike, played in the Underground Railroad and the fight against slavery in the United States,” said State Representative Antonio Cabral. “Our city has always embraced diversity and it is important that we remember this history as we look to our future. Congratulations to all of those working behind the scenes to make this park and project a focal point of our community.”

Here is the full list of grant recipients.