News & Updates

Grant opportunity announced for public realm projects in Allston-Brighton

Mar 14, 2016

As part of a package of public benefits created in 2013 to support the community of Allston, Harvard University, in collaboration with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the City of Boston, will begin awarding grants from a $5.35 million pool of funding to projects that create vibrant public spaces and encourage civic and cultural activity in the neighborhood. The BRA is working with the university to launch the first grant cycle and to administer the program, which aims to invest in public realm improvements such as open space, streetscape improvements, improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, and public art and cultural programming.

Known as the Harvard-Allston Public Realm Flexible Fund, the program is managed by an eight-member executive committee who, with input from residents of Allston-Brighton, will choose grant recipients. The intent is to support a variety of worthy projects for which public funds are unavailable or inadequate. The executive committee was charged with developing an application review and selection process that would ensure transparency, clear evaluation criteria, and annual reporting of awards and outcomes. With that, applications for two categories of grants, small (under $50,000) and large (over $50,000), are now open to public entities and established 501(c)3 non-profits interested in implementing projects on public property in conjunction with public agencies. Grants will not be awarded to individuals.

Projects must be located in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood with particular emphasis on the North Allston/North Brighton area, i.e. the portion(s) of the neighborhood located north of I-90. In addition, they must be on public property or on property with public access.

Proposed projects may include:

  • Improvements in public parks and open spaces
  • Neighborhood beautification
  • Streetscape improvements
  • Public safety projects
  • Public art, including functional art such as benches or bike racks
Among other criteria, selection will be based on the ability of projects to advance the following goals:

  • The public realm goals described in the cooperation agreement between the BRA and Harvard;
  • One or more of the following goals:
  • Enhance the aesthetic quality and user experience of the public realm
  • Enhance public safety
  • Enhance local business and economic activity, either during implementation or permanently. Whenever possible, applicants should use Allston-Brighton based vendors and/or contractors.
  • Improve accessibility and connectivity for non-vehicular modes of transportation.
  • Promote community collaboration and civic and cultural growth.
  • Showcase unique qualities of the neighborhood.
An information session will be held on March 28, 2016 at 4 p.m. at the Fiorentino Community Center on Antwerp Street off of Western Avenue in Allston, inside the Charlesview housing complex. More information on the application, due May 2, 2016, and guidelines can be found here.

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