For Immediate Release - February 28, 2012

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY HIGHLIGHTS INVESTMENTS IN THE CITY OF SALEM

State Investments boosts infrastructure, community and economic development for the Gateway City and regional economy

SALEM – Tuesday, February 28, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined state and local officials in Salem to highlight recent state investments in the Gateway City, including $420,960 for the Splaine Park and the dedication of the new $106 million courthouse in the city’s downtown district. 

“Our Administration continues to focus on Gateway cities, like Salem, as we invest in critical infrastructure, job creation and economic development across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “By working with Mayor Driscoll and the City of Salem, the construction of the new Salem Courthouse will provide a boost for economic activity in the city’s downtown district and investments in Splaine Park will enhance recreational activities for the Salem community."

Lieutenant Governor Murray first joined Mayor Kimberley Driscoll at City Hall to highlight $420,960 for the Splaine Park in Salem. This investment is part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant program which recently awarded $14 million in grants to enhance parks and recreational facilities in 25 communities throughout the Commonwealth. 

“A big part of our commitment to land conservation is investing in cities and towns and our Gateway City Parks program helps conserve green space in urban areas, invigorating neighborhoods and improving the lives of residents across the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. “This project highlights the value Governor Patrick has placed on parks and open space protection, utilizing strong public-private partnerships to effect positive change in our cities.”

PARC grant funding for Splaine Park will support the removal of overgrown vegetation, the construction of a stone dust bike/walking path along the park perimeter, the enhancement of the two main entrances, the construction of play structures, the installation of a new baseball field and irrigation system and rebuilding of the bleachers and dugouts.  

The PARC program, formerly Urban Self-Help, was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. PARC grants are offered on a competitive basis and reimburse communities between 52 and 70 percent of the total project cost, determined by the municipal demographics, with a maximum grant award of $500,000. Through the PARC grant program as well as the Gateway Cities Parks Program, the Administration has invested more than $72.9 million since 2007, resulting in the creation or restoration of 154 parks. 

Lieutenant Governor Murray also celebrated the dedication of Salem District Courthouse today joined by judicial officials and local lawmakers at the new $106 million downtown courthouse. The new Salem Courthouse is a 191,000 square foot facility that exemplifies energy efficiency and sustainable design principals, designed for LEED Silver certification. The facility houses the Superior, District, Housing and Juvenile court departments and the Essex County Law Library which is housed in a historic former church building attached to the new structure. 

"This project demonstrates the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to modernizing our court facilities and helping communities revitalize their downtown centers,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “Our prudent fiscal management has earned the Commonwealth its highest bond ratings in history – this means we are able to make critical infrastructure investments like this one at a lower cost to taxpayers, create new jobs and secure the Commonwealth’s economic future.” 

"The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to developing energy efficient, consolidated court facilities that combine new infrastructure and state of the art technology to better serve the people of the Commonwealth,” said Division of Capital Asset Management Commissioner Carole Cornelison. “I would like to commend the design and construction teams for serving as such excellent partners on this project.” 

Together with the existing Probate and Family Court Building, which is approved to move into final design for a comprehensive renovation, the new modern courthouse will serve Salem and its surrounding communities for generations and will provide the courts and the public with a state of the art comprehensive justice center – all of the courts services will be provided through a single efficient complex. 

The courthouse, which began construction in 2007, is named for former State Representative J. Michael Ruane. It features 11 courtrooms including transaction/support space for Trial Court operations, detainee holding areas, a sally port for transporting detainees, record storage, mechanical areas, the Pro Se Center, the Adult Court Clinic and the court-related portion of the Essex District Attorney’s Office. 

At its peak, construction of this project supported 500 construction jobs, keeping with the Administration's commitment to create new jobs and spur economic growth through investing in the Commonwealth's infrastructure. 

"Lieutenant Governor Murray has a keen understanding of the challenges facing our municipalities,” said Senator Frederick Berry. “He has always been there for Salem; whether it be for local issues such as park improvements, or large scale regional projects such as the court house complex. The entire Patrick Administration has consistently supported strong economic development projects, job creation programs and a first rate education for the North Shore."

“I am most grateful to the Patrick-Murray Administration for its commitment to this project and to the City of Salem,” said Representative John Keenan. “The significance of this multi-million dollar infrastructure investment in Salem’s downtown is historic. I would also like to thank Senator Berry for his leadership and support through this process. Today is a  proud day for the City of Salem and much credit and appreciation is owed to this building’s namesake and the name that appears on the wall outside the First Session, two of Salem’s greatest public servants, the late Representative J. Michael Ruane and Chief Justice Samuel E. Zoll. In addition, I offer sincere thanks to Secretary Sullivan and the Patrick-Murray Administration for the financial award to renovate Splaine Park. I applaud the Administration’s continued commitment to land conservation and preservation of many of the treasured areas in urban communities such as Splaine Park in Salem. These funds will be put to good use.” 

“I appreciate the continued support Salem receives from the Patrick-Murray Administration,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “The opening of the J. Michael Ruane Judicial Center will provide the region with a modern and accessible court complex that will also help boost Salem’s downtown. And thanks to this PARC Grant, Splaine Park will receive some much needed improvements and bring us closer to the goal of upgrading all of Salem’s parks.”

Prior to highlighting investments in Splain Park and the Salem District Courthouse, Lieutenant Governor Murray also visited the Salem Community Child Care Program today to highlight Massachusetts as a recipient in President Obama’s Early Learning Challenge competition. In December, the Patrick-Murray Administration announced that Massachusetts was one of nine grant award winners in the competition and will receive significant funding over the next four years to expand high quality early education services and close achievement gaps in education. 

The Patrick-Murray Administration has made numerous investments in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities. The Administration has implemented the following strategy to make the state’s Gateway Cities communities centers of economic activity:

  • Make long-term investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, with special attention to the growth potential of each city’s entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Leverage the potential of each community’s distinctive assets, including their educational, medical and cultural institutions and their historic buildings and neighborhoods.
  • Connect Gateway Cities to other local, state and global centers of innovation and economic activity.

In keeping with this strategy, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made the following Gateway City investments:

  • $1,855,536,592 in Chapter 70 Education Funding and Unrestricted Local Aid in 2009.
  • Over $1 billion in active construction contracts through MassDOT.
  • Over $20 million in Gateway City Parks grants for park projects in 24 cities.
  • $109,150,534 since 2007 in public safety grants for police and fire departments and non- profit agencies to maintain staffing levels and combat violence.
  • $17,484,882 since 2007 in Workforce Training Grants.   

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