For Immediate Release - November 19, 2012

$2.5 MILLION IN FUNDING ANNOUNCED FOR NATICK SOLDIER SYSTEMS CENTER SUPPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE UPGRADES

$1.5 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant joins $1 million capital expenditure

NATICK – Monday, November 19, 2012 – Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to the future of the defense industry in Massachusetts, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined state and local officials to announce a $1.5 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to support the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center and Town of Natick.

The MassWorks grant follows a $1 million capital expenditure from the Administration for the Town of Natick. The funding will create infrastructure improvements for Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC), and will also improve the traffic flow along one of Natick’s major roads, Route 27, to allow the road to better accommodate current and future traffic volumes. Lieutenant Governor Murray has led the Patrick-Murray Administration’s effort to protect the missions, jobs and economic investments associated with the state’s military bases.

“Our Administration continues to partner with cities and towns as we invest in local infrastructure, create jobs, and support economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “This funding, through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, is providing a critical resource for the Natick Soldier Systems Center and the town as we continue to promote and protect missions, jobs, and our national and economic security.”

The Natick project exemplifies the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to making strategic investments – including in the state’s high-tech defense industry – that will support long-term growth and job-retention opportunities. The MassWorks grant and capital improvement funding will help address critical infrastructure upgrades needed to support NSSC. The base employs more than 1,800 full- and part-time employees, and the upgrades will pave the way to move forward on its master plan that includes the potential of creating 500 more jobs.

Today's announced grant award is part of the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force's continued work to support the needs of the military base. As chair of the Task Force, Lieutenant Governor Murray and Task Force members visited NSSC in April. At this meeting, base leadership outlined opportunities to improve infrastructure outside the base’s main gate. Since it was established earlier this year, the Task Force has met multiple times with NSSC leadership to provide governmental expertise and technical assistance in identifying ways to strengthen energy efficiency, operations, utility costs, and infrastructure upgrades on and outside the base.

"Natick Soldier Systems Center has experienced significant growth over the years, and now some 1,800 civilians and military members work at our installation," said Dr. John P. Obusek, NSSC senior manager. "With that growth have come understandable increases in vehicular and pedestrian traffic along Kansas Street to and from our gates. This project will help to accommodate that."

The project will make improvements to Kansas Street and Route 27 (North Main Street), which will allow for long-term planning and expansion of the base, and will support upgrades to improve connections to nearby Route 9 and the MassPike. The infrastructure improvements will also support the Paper Board Redevelopment Project, which is directly up the street in Natick’s 40R Smart Growth District and will lead to the creation of 150 housing units.

“One of the main goals of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s long-term economic development plan is empowering communities and regions to create development and job-creation opportunities,” said Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development. “MassWorks helps us accomplish that goal by targeting investments where they maximize new opportunities and can be best used by a wide range of interests.”

"The economic and regional impact of these improvements will be further enhanced by the planned reconstruction of Route 27/North Main Street and the highly anticipated rail trail development connecting the MBTA at Natick Center to NSSC, major local employers and affordable housing developments," said Natick Town Administrator Martha White.

The MassWorks Program is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), and is a consolidation of six capital budget programs that were combined by the Patrick-Murray Administration in 2011 and codified by law as a single MassWorks Program in the Jobs Bill signed by the Governor in August 2012. EOHED has established clear goals for the use of the funds, and prioritizes projects for Gateway Cities and town centers where communities have planned ahead for new housing and commercial growth that create exceptional benefit for the community, region and Commonwealth. 

Through the MassWorks Program, the Patrick-Murray Administration partners with cities and towns to make targeted investments in infrastructure such as roadways, streetscapes, water, and sewer to facilitate and support new and sustained housing and economic growth throughout Massachusetts. The MassWorks Program infrastructure investments are targeted to projects that require the infrastructure upgrades or expansion in order for new growth to take place.

“This funding will allow for significant upgrades to improve public safety, economic prosperity, and quality of life in the Natick community,” said state Senator Karen Spilka. “This critical project will also help support the infrastructure of the Natick Soldier Systems Center – which plays a crucial role in the economic vitality our region and the Commonwealth as a whole. I’m pleased that we have been able to secure funding for a project that will support our community, our residents, and the Center, whose staff work tirelessly to support and protect our servicemen and women.”

“I would like to join my colleagues in thanking MassWorks, as well as the Patrick-Murray administration, for their support of this important project," said state Representative Alice Peisch. "A safe and well-maintained infrastructure is one of the most basic needs for any local economy, and this investment highlights the vital role Natick plays in the region’s business and cultural environment."

“U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center is a major employer in the region and plays a critical role not only in Natick, but in the overall economy of the Commonwealth and New England,” said state Representative David Linsky. “The research and work performed at Natick Soldier Systems Center help protect the men and women serving in the armed forces. These critical infrastructure improvements that are part of the Kansas Street Improvement Project will help address the needs of the town and Natick Soldier Systems Center well into the future. I thank the Patrick-Murray Administration for their support of this project.” 

The grants announced in November 2012 are the second round of funding under the consolidated MassWorks program. The Patrick-Murray Administration approved 26 grants totaling $38 million, after receiving 130 applications for more than $323 million in infrastructure improvement requests. For more information, visit the MassWorks website.

About the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force 

Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have committed to supporting Massachusetts’ military bases. In February 2012, with the support of Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray signed Executive Order #541 creating the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force. As chair of the Task Force, Lieutenant Governor Murray and Task Force members lead meetings including tours, roundtable discussions and committee meetings in support of the state’s six military bases.

Earlier this year, Lieutenant Governor Murray tasked MassDevelopment to collaborate with the UMass Donahue Institute and assess the economic benefits of Massachusetts’ six military installations including: Westover Air Reserve Base; Barnes Air National Guard Base; the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center; Fort Devens; Hanscom Air Force Base; and the Massachusetts Military Reservation. The report found that more than 46,500 jobs directly and indirectly are related to our installations that have an estimated economic impact of more than $14.2 billion to Massachusetts. At NSSC, there are more than 1,800 direct and 12,500 indirect jobs for a total of more than 14,000 jobs. The economic impact in 2011 from NSSC was $4.4 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy.

To learn more about the Task Force, please visit: http://www.mass.gov/governor/administration/councilscabinetsandcommissions/military/

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