- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $3.4 Million MassWorks Award for Arsenal Street Improvements in Watertown
Michael Verseckes, Director of Media and Public Relations
WATERTOWN — Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Undersecretary for Community Development Ashley Stolba were joined by Representative Steven Owens and Watertown Town Council President Mark Sideris to announce a $3.4 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to the Town of Watertown.
This is Watertown’s first MassWorks award and it will fund Phase I of the Arsenal Street Corridor Improvement Project, which spans approximately 2,700 feet of Arsenal Street from Arsenal Court to Lower Greenough Boulevard. The project involves reconstruction, milling, and repaving of Arsenal Street, the addition of bike lanes, improved drainage, ADA-compliant sidewalks and wheelchair ramps, MBTA bus stops and shelters, new traffic control signals, new lighting, new landscape, and new pavement markings.
The MassWorks award was made through the Community One Stop for Growth platform, a single application portal and collaborative review process of grant programs launched in January 2021 that make targeted investments based on a development continuum.
“We are pleased to partner with Watertown to support significant upgrades to public infrastructure that will have transformative effects along the Arsenal Street corridor,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Along with two other grants received through the One Stop, Watertown can maximize its ability to unlock development potential and advance its economic development goals.”
“This MassWorks award opens the door to important improvements that will make the Arsenal Street corridor safer and function more efficiently for all modes of transportation,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “In addition to supporting ongoing development in Watertown, this award promises to attract even more private investment resulting in new housing, more jobs, and additional retail and commercial opportunities.”
Watertown’s award is part of this year’s round of MassWorks Infrastructure Program Grants announced last week. This year, the Baker-Polito Administration is awarding 56 grants from the infrastructure program – the largest number of awards in a single year in six years – totaling $66.5 million to 50 communities. Among this year’s MassWorks projects, 29 are reactivating underutilized sites, 27 are supporting transit-oriented developments and 29 have a mixed-use component. Additionally, 14 communities – including Watertown – are receiving their first ever MassWorks award.
Including this year’s round, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded 326 MassWorks grants to 181 communities and has invested over $608 million in public infrastructure projects throughout the Commonwealth. These grants have directly supported the creation of 21,000 new housing units and tens of thousands of new construction and permanent jobs, while also leveraging over $13 billion in private investment.
MassWorks is a competitive program that offers cities and towns flexible capital funding to support and accelerate housing production and job growth and is the largest program in Community One Stop for Growth. Including MassWorks grants, the Community One Stop for Growth program awarded $88 million for 196 projects in 122 communities across the Commonwealth in its first year. Of the 196 projects awarded, nearly one-third were located in a rural or small town, half were located in a Housing Choice Community, and one-third were located in a Gateway City.
“We created the One Stop as a direct result of engaging with communities, large and small, across the Commonwealth, who told us we needed a new process that was easier to navigate, simpler to access, and all in one place,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “While the first year’s results show tremendous promise, the demand for our programs demonstrate we can do more, and the One Stop offers an opportunity to ensure valuable program funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time.”
“With substantial process improvements resulting in the new One Stop program and with the flexibility provided through the MassWorks program, our goal is to give more power to communities to achieve their individual visions for growth,” said Undersecretary of Community Development Ashley Stolba. “In addition, the One Stop program allows for communities like Watertown to take advantage of other opportunities such as Community Planning and Housing Choice Capital Program grants to further their economic development and housing production goals.”
The roadway improvements to Arsenal Street will support mixed use development at the adjacent Arsenal Yards as well as several other new and proposed developments along the corridor. When complete, Arsenal Yards will have 302 apartments, with 45 units designated as affordable, space for approximately 50 restaurants and retail outlets, 146 hotel rooms, a supermarket, and nearly 500,000 square feet of laboratory space.
Other developments that will benefit from this investment include Arsenal on the Charles, a life sciences project with 950,000 square feet of development, and three other nearby lab developments: LINX (185,000 square feet), 99 Coolidge Avenue (255,000 square feet permitted), and 23 Elm Street (69,319 square feet proposed). A total of 1,857 permanent, full-time jobs and approximately 500 construction jobs will be created from these new developments.
“Arsenal Street is rapidly becoming a regional mixed-use corridor bringing new jobs and housing to Watertown, as envisioned in our Comprehensive Plan,” said Town Council President Mark Sideris. “But the key to the corridor’s future is improving conditions for cars and buses--and making it safer for workers and residents to walk and bike. That’s why this MassWorks Infrastructure grant is so important.”
“Watertown's Arsenal Street Corridor has experienced extraordinary growth over the past few years with more to come,” said Representative Steven Owens. “This MassWorks Grant represents an important investment in Watertown's future and a way for us to make Arsenal St safer for all road users.”
In addition to its first-ever MassWorks award, Watertown is receiving two other awards through One Stop for Growth.
As a designated Housing Choice community, Watertown has been awarded a $250,000 Housing Choice Initiative grant to create walking and biking improvements to a segment of a shared-use path going through the Watertown Square area and connecting the Town’s mixed-use corridors between the intersection of Arsenal Street/Irving Street and the intersection of Mt. Auburn Street/Taylor Street to support existing and future multifamily developments in Watertown Square.
Watertown has also been awarded a $59,000 grant through the Community Planning Grant Program to update its Comprehensive Plan which was first adopted in 2015. The update will include a reassessment of the plan’s baseline and goals with the goal of producing a new implementation plan focusing on economic development, land use, and transportation, circulation, and parking.
The full list of Community Planning Grant Program awards can be viewed here.
The full list of this year’s MassWorks grant recipients can be found here.