For Immediate Release - August 26, 2010


Comb and Carriage District upgrades to boost economy and generate jobs

LEOMINSTER - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration's efforts to strengthen communities and boost economic development in communities across the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray today announced that the City of Leominster will receive $855,200 from the state to upgrade traffic signals and replace aged and dilapidated streets, sidewalks and drainage systems in the city's downtown gateway area off of Route 2 and Interstate 190.

"Infrastructure improvements create jobs and a foundation for growth and better quality of life," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud to be able to extend those opportunities to the people of the City of Leominster."

"As part of our economic recovery plan, we continue to strategically invest in communities across the Commonwealth, improving infrastructure and putting people back to work," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "This investment further promotes regional economic growth and supports downtown redevelopment in the City of Leominster."

This award comes through the state Department of Housing and Community Development's Community Development Action Grant (CDAG) program. The funds from this state bond-funded program will be used to make critical improvements at Water, Whitney, Spruce and Summer streets in a section of what the city refers to its "Comb and Carriage District".

"This is more great news for the Comb and Carriage District! Once again, I'm so thankful to the Administration for realizing the potential of this neighborhood," said Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan. "Mayor Mazzarella has a unique vision for the City of Leominster; it has been rewarding to partner with him and the Patrick/Murray Administration to see these changes take place."

"This project is truly representative of what the CDAG program should pay for. Once completed, it will create a more walkable corridor between the Comb & Carriage District and the downtown area, improve transportation flow in the neighborhood, and upgrade the necessary infrastructure to jump start development," said Representative Dennis Rosa. "I commend the Patrick-Murray Administration for recognizing the years of effort that the City of Leominster has put forth in improving this historic neighborhood."

The CDAG program provides funding for projects that build local economies, eliminate blight, create jobs and produce workforce and affordable housing that would not occur by private enterprise alone. Grants can be used in a variety of ways, including: infrastructure improvements such as water and sewer system upgrades, sidewalk, roadway and streetscape improvements to support new mixed-use housing and commercial development; site preparation and improvements to publicly-owned buildings that may include demolition, new construction and/or rehabilitation of existing structures; and many other eligible activities.

"To improve its social and economic outlook, the city identified the critical need for these projects when it submitted a report to the state courtesy of a $75,000 Gateway Plus planning grant it received from DHCD in November 2008," said DHCD Undersecretary Tina Brooks. "These infrastructure upgrades are expected to support significant new private and public investment and workforce housing in the area, including the redevelopment of a long vacant, 40,000 square foot former mill building known as the Hartman Building into 40 rental units for working families."

Construction on the improvement work is slated to begin in early October 2010 with a completion date projected by the end of August 2011.