For Immediate Release - December 18, 2012

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY HIGHLIGHTS $1.2 MILLION MASSWORKS INFRASTRUCTURE GRANT FOR DOWNTOWN TAUNTON IMPROVEMENTS

TAUNTON – Tuesday, December 18, 2012 – Continuing the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting economic development, and job and housing creation through targeted infrastructure investments, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined state and local officials to celebrate a $1,280,750 MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant for downtown Taunton.

The series of infrastructure improvements will support future private investment and development in downtown Taunton. Based on estimates from the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan, this area can accommodate up to 660 housing units and 445,700 square feet of commercial space within a one-mile radius of the proposed Taunton commuter rail station.

“Our Administration continues to partner with cities and towns as we invest in local infrastructure, create jobs, and support economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “By working with the City of Taunton through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, we are paving the way for future opportunities that will advance economic development in Taunton and help build a stronger future for the Commonwealth."

The grant will support Phase II streetscape improvements in downtown Taunton by replacing deteriorated and non-ADA compliant sidewalks, installing new granite curbs, installing trees and new parking kiosks, and making upgrades to drainage and water lines. The project will stretch from High Street, near the recently renovated Taunton Mall, down Main Street to Church Green, and then up School Street from Main Street to Leonard Street. Phase I was completed by the City of Taunton.

Two developments adjacent to the work area will benefit from the infrastructure upgrades, the New England Brass site on Park Street that will be developed into a 60,000 square-foot medical office complex and the former Baron’s Furniture property on Trescott Street that will include six units of affordable housing and commercial space. The infrastructure upgrades are also in the vicinity of the major Hope VI housing redevelopment project supported by federal and state housing funding.

"We are excited about the opportunity that the MassWorks Funding provides our historic downtown,” said Mayor Thomas C. Hoye Jr. "This funding will provide the completion of our sidewalks and necessary infrastructure upgrades that will encourage investment, which in turn will create jobs and economic opportunity for our residents. I would like to thank the Patrick-Murray Administration for their continued support of the City of Taunton."

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.

“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, the 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.”

“I am pleased to work with the Patrick-Murray Administration on the MassWorks Program. These needed funds will help to create jobs and help provide renewal for our downtown” said Senator Marc Pacheco. “I thank Governor Patrick and Lt. Governor Murray for continuing their commitment to economic development in the city of Taunton.”

“We in the legislature are pleased to work in partnership with the administration in providing these necessary grant resources which are so helpful to revitalizing Taunton’s city center,” said state Representative Patricia A. Haddad, Speaker Pro Tempore.

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.

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