For over 10 years, a strip mall in the heart of Little Italy had been a problem property. It had two establishments that attracted illicit activities directly across from Giovanni Caboto Park.
Community members canvassed the city and even the non-local ownership itself to do anything that would turn the pivotal piece of real estate into a community gem. Last November, they made their aspirations official by creating the McCauley Development Co-op to raise funds and purchase the property — even though it wasn’t actually for sale.
Then came a kind of fundraising miracle: the community raised $1.1 million from over 90 investors — in 20 days — mostly from investments under $10,000. This allowed the group to finance the remainder needed to buy the property and create what will be known as The Piazza, an open, flowered area with a bright pedestrian pathway and bistro or restaurant in the commercial space.
“I get quite emotional,” says Miranda Ringma, chairperson of the McCauley Development Cooperative. “To raise that volume of cash in that short amount of time — it’s more than heartwarming, and it speaks to the commitment this group of people has for seeing this community succeed.”
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