For Immediate Release - July 07, 2008

Governor Patrick Announces $2.1 Million in Development Grants

City of Springfield to Make Improvements to Public Infrastructure Along Armory Street; Local Companies to Receive Funds for Workforce Training; Main Street and State Street Corridors Named Growth District

SPRINGFIELD - Monday, July 7, 2008 - During a visit to downtown Springfield today, Governor Deval Patrick announced the city will receive more than $2.1 million in grants to help boost the local economy, including a $2 million Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion (MORE) jobs grant to improve public infrastructure along a two-mile stretch of Armory Street, and a $164,350 Workforce Training Fund grants to three local companies.

The Governor also announced part of downtown Springfield has been identified as an economic Growth District, covering a more than 1,000-acre area comprised of the Main Street and State Street Corridors.

"Growth Districts are hubs of economic growth and housing development across the Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick. "By identifying growth districts, such as the Main and State Streets Corridors in Springfield, and focusing our collective resources on making them development ready, we are creating the conditions for business growth and community revitalization for years to come."

The announcements come after Governor Patrick laid out his economic stimulus plan in April to create a culture of opportunity focused on restrained spending with immediate and long-term investments, while preparing for the impacts of a softening national economy.

MORE Grants

The MORE jobs program is a tool to help the Patrick Administration stimulate economic growth across the state. The Armory Street Improvement Project begins at the rotary off of Route 291, continuing approximately two miles south to Federal Street, near the STCC Technology Park entrance, and the future location of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. The project consists of:

  • Re-milling and paving the roadway
  • Signal improvements to the intersection at Genesee, Taylor and Worthington Streets
  • Installing additional catch basins for improved drainage
  • Adding pedestrian improvements including new sidewalks, crosswalks and trees

The economic impact will total 250 new jobs added by local firms. The Patrick Administration will continue announce municipalities that have been selected to receive MORE job grants.

Workforce Training Fund Grants

The Workforce Training Fund (WTF), administered by the Department of Workforce Development, under the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, provides business and labor organizations with matching grants of up to $250,000 or more in certain cases to finance incumbent worker training.

Three Springfield companies will benefit from WTF grants in the current round of funding, totaling $164,350 to train 116 workers:

  • Hampden Bank: $91,250 to train 79 workers in customer service and salesforce management.
  • Thorn Industries: $36,500 to train 15 workers in lean manufacturing and inventory control systems.
  • Hayden Corporation: $36,600 to train 22 workers in RAPID robotics software.

Since Governor Patrick took office in January 2007, the Workforce Training Fund has invested more than $35 million to train some 40,000 workers at more than 1600 companies.

Growth Districts Initiative

Through the Growth Districts Initiative, the Patrick Administration will partner with municipalities with one or more targeted areas for significant commercial, residential, or mixed-use growth. By identifying designated growth districts, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development will focus resources to ensure that each district is truly "development ready."

The Springfield District is comprised of the Main Street and State Street Corridors. It is a 1,033-acre area that will accommodate more than a million square feet of mixed-used commercial buildings, and an additional 394 housing units. The Growth District organizes and supports the community-based Urban Land Institute Plan and the recently released State Street Corridor Redevelopment Plan led by MassMutual.

The Growth Districts Initiative is another way the Patrick Administration is coordinating state resources, building relationships with local government and working with regional economic development planning councils to stimulate long-term growth.

"I commend the Patrick Administration for their continued focus on Springfield. Realizing we have to enhance revenue generation, these are the economic building blocks to do that," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

"This is another example of Governor Patrick's unprecedented commitment to Springfield and Western Massachusetts. Today's announcement and funding is another step towards the revitalization of the City of Springfield," said Senator Gale Candaras.

"I am very pleased with Governor Patrick's continued commitment to the city of Springfield," said Senator Stephen Buoniconti. "The infrastructure improvements funded by this grant are vital to the economic development of the Armory Street neighborhood and of the city as a whole."

"With the economy being in the state it is these grants could not be coming at a better a time." stated Representative Thomas J. Petrolati

"I am pleased to join Governor Patrick in announcing this investment of economic development monies into Springfield," said state Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Rivera. "This is a great opportunity to demonstrate how government, business and community can work together to improve the quality of life for us all."

"This illustrates Governor Patrick's commitment to improving the infrastructure across the Commonwealth," said state Rep. Sean Curran. "We certainly appreciate his efforts bringing $2 million to the City of Springfield."

"The MORE Infrastructure Project is an important initiative for the City of Springfield, it offers an economic stimulus and environmental and safety improvements," said state Rep. Ben Swan. "I commend Governor Deval Patrick for the efforts of his administration toward the continued revitalization of the City of Springfield."

"As a State Representative, former City Councilor and resident of Springfield, I am very pleased with this economic commitment to the City," said state Rep. Angelo Puppolo.