The Central Square BID, After Pandemic Leadership and Award-Winning
Placekeeping Work, Celebrates Renewal of Second Term**

A growing majority of property owners in Central Square, Cambridge, voted to renew the Central Square’s Business Improvement District (BID) designation while toasting the organization’s innovative work.

The Central Square Business Improvement District (CSBID) will continue its award-
winning placekeeping work through 2029, announced Christina Abele, Chair of the Central Square BID’s Board on Monday, February 26.

The announcement followed an official vote by the Board of Directors on February 20 to ratify the 72% of constituent signatures needed, a resounding consensus for the BIDs continued efforts.

“It is a gratifying and inspiring day for Central Square,” said current President and Founding Executive Director, Michael Monestime, who led the transition from the Central Square Business Association, the CSBID’s preceding non-profit of almost 100 years, to the Central Square BID in 2019. “It took 30 years of momentum-building, organizing, and advocacy for the CSBID to be established in October 2019 by vote of the Cambridge City Council. We’ve demonstrated that so much more is possible for our Cultural District when
extra resources, time, love, care and partnership with the City of Cambridge are dedicated toward strengthening what makes Central special”

The CSBID is most known for their Ambassador team of 15 people, who work 16 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep the district clean. In four years, the team has grown from 10 to 15.

In addition to their role as stewards for the neighborhood, they are a welcoming
presence, maintaining the cleanliness of all shared public spaces and providing assistance to shop owners, residents, and visitors moving through Central Square.
The BID’s list of achievements is long despite its relatively short history. In addition to its COVID-19 pandemic response sourcing essential public health infrastructure, writing “Grassroots Relief for Main Streets,” a legislative agenda for urgently needed relief, and facilitating mutual aid, the Central Square BID:

  • Creation and 4-Year Operation of Starlight Square
  • Creation of and Springboard for Popportunity, Inc., which has supported 140
  • local entrepreneurs and placed four in Mass Ave brick and mortar
  • Creation of Marquee Dining Block: 500 new seats at 10 new patios along the
  • Mass. Ave corridor
  • Facilitated 30 new pieces of public art
  • Supported 40+ new businesses opening in the Square
  • Launched 3 celebrated District-Wide Campaigns

The CSBID’s work has won Best of Boston awards, been highlighted at regional conferences like NACTO, and heralded as a model for community-generated placekeeping by international organizations like the IDA.

“I was proud to vote for its founding in 2019, and I am proud today to be a huge supporter of the BID’s work,” says Mayor E. Denise Simmons, upon hearing the news of its renewal. “As I’ve said often,” she continues, “Central Square is a jewel. It’s the heart of the city. It needs leadership like Michael’s that has brought back so much energy and so many people to the visioning of this historic area, while also doing the less glamorous work of keeping it clean. They are the neighborhood’s eyes and ears; they truly listen and vision.”

Next up for the Central Square BID is its strategic plan, which will be completed in collaboration with PUMA Advisors. Already, the CSBID has held small focus groups, ranging from residents ages 9 to 91. To keep up-to-date with this process and all the CSBID does, please visit or follow the team on Instagram @centralsqbid.