Our mission is to improve the life of our community by building investment, connection and pride in our main street. We do this through a variety of ways including:
Strengthening the role of the East Broadway Business District as a commercial center for the eastern half of Somerville and western part of Charlestown
Promoting the East Broadway Business District as a remarkable and unique cultural destination, known for celebrating its traditions and heritage and maintaining the community’s diversity.
Enhancing social connectedness within the neighborhood.
This is East:
East Somerville Main Streets is part of a nationwide movement of nearly 1400 Main Street Organizations working to build thriving local economies and centers of community. These districts develop local pride and identity, often at a contrast with an increasingly homogenous national landscape. The Main Street Approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community (for more info. see www.mainstreet.org).
East Somerville is Somerville’s most diverse neighborhood, with a 35+% immigrant population and about 78% of the establishments in the commercial district immigrant-owned. The neighborhood is Somerville's most economically repressed and in need of resources to develop and maintain its unique characteristic. All of East Somerville Main Streets work is addressing these needs.
On a federal level, East Somerville has been identified as priority area for improvement, receiving the designation of “Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area” (NRSA), as 62.2% of the population qualify as low or moderate income.
In the 1970’s, the East Somerville neighborhood was islanded from the rest of the City of Somerville by the construction of Interstate 93. Geographically isolated, East Somerville's heart, a linear business district, became a dilapidated community focal point which gained a reputation for gangs and violence. However in the early 2000's a new wave of immigrants from Central America, Brazil and Haiti brought new economic vitality to the neighborhood by opening up restaurants, hair salons, barbershops and filling the empty retail storefronts.
In 2009 East Somerville Main Streets was established to support the local community of East Somerville by assisting the local small business community (78% of which is immigrant owned) and to create community programming that would bring the diverse community together across cultural divides. East Somerville Main Streets, along with community partner organizations, created new street festivals, beautification projects, storefront improvement projects and more to the community.
In 2015 East Somerville Main Streets in collaboration with a coalition of community partners ventured on capitalizing on new revitalization project that the City was undergoing in order to strengthen the neighborhood’s cultural identity at a time of drastic change for the neighborhood. The coalition of community partners came together to address the need of a “public expression of character” for the neighborhood in what became known as the “This is East” Project.