- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
- Housing and Community Development
- Housing Choice Initiative
- Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards $5 Million to Support Housing Choice Communities
Ryan Boehm, Director of Communications
BROCKTON — Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan, Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan, legislators, and local officials from across the state to award $5 million in capital grants to 30 communities under the Housing Choice Initiative. The Housing Choice Community Capital Grant Program funds infrastructure improvements in those communities that have shown commitment to advancing sustainable housing production. Recognizing that small towns face different challenges, the Housing Choice Initiative also set aside funding for a competitive Small Town Capital Grant Program exclusively for towns with populations under 7,000.
The awards announced today will provide $4.1 million to 20 municipalities and $900,000 to 10 small towns across the state to support high-impact, smaller-scale local capital improvement projects, including feasibility studies to plan medium- and long-term development, ADA accessibility improvements for town facilities, sewer capacity expansions, and other projects to enhance quality-of-life for residents. Grant funding to the City of Brockton will make improvements to enhance connectivity and mobility near the Campello Commuter Rail Station and help encourage new development.
“The efforts being undertaken by cities and towns that have earned the Housing Choice Community designation to increase housing production and implement best practices at the local level are vital to addressing the housing crisis, and we are pleased to recognize their contributions in today’s grant awards,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Producing more housing of all types is critical to maintaining the strength of the Commonwealth’s economy and communities and our Administration will continue to partner with the legislature to make investments and pass necessary reforms like An Act to promote housing choice.”
“Today’s awards will help municipalities that are making housing a priority continue to invest in their communities and residents, and prepare for long-term success,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We appreciate local leaders like Mayor Sullivan and his predecessor, the late Mayor Bill Carpenter, here in Brockton who understand that new housing drives economic activity and contributes to the vibrancy of our cities and towns.”
Launched by Governor Charlie Baker in 2017 to increase housing production by empowering municipalities to lead on local development, the Housing Choice Initiative includes technical assistance, a community designation with access to capital grant programs, and proposed legislation titled An Act to Promote Housing Choices. The initiative was introduced with the goal to support the production of 135,000 new housing units by 2025.
The Housing Choice Designation recognizes communities that have met simple, flexible goals towards implementing housing best practices, met specific housing production goals, or both. The designation, which has been bestowed upon 79 cities and towns to date, gives municipalities access to new financial resources, including exclusive access to Housing Choice Capital Grants, and preferential treatment for many state grant and capital funding programs, including MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects, and PARC and LAND grants. Currently there are 79 Housing Choice Communities.
“As we work to address the housing crisis, we are proud to recognize the communities that are pursuing policies that will produce new housing to meet the needs of residents and employers,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “New housing means our business owners can continue to find a talented workforce, our Main Street retailers can find new customers, and our communities on the whole can grow more vibrant. We need more housing in places that make sense—near public transit, in walkable downtowns—and our administration’s Housing Choice Initiative and pending legislation gives cities and towns the tools to be a part of the solution.”
“These awards will enable communities to undertake a variety of important capital projects that will enhance quality-of-life for residents and help municipalities make smart, long-term planning decisions to meet their local housing and development needs. There is no one housing model for all our cities and towns, and I want to highlight our Housing Choice Communities for making housing a priority by adopting best practices and creating an environment for growth,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan. “Our goal is to cultivate strong partnerships with cities and towns, so we can provide guidance, expertise, and funding for projects that further local goals and strengthen our entire Commonwealth. Congratulations to today’s awardees and thank you for your commitment to making our Commonwealth a great place to live for all our families and residents.”
“Brockton is enthusiastically choosing to support the development of housing around its three commuter rail stations,” said Mayor Robert F Sullivan. “As a City Councilor, I sponsored the downtown 40R Smart Growth zoning overlay amendment. This was the backbone for the incredible redevelopment and significant investment that we are currently seeing. We will expand transit oriented development in our Campello and Montello neighborhoods. We appreciate the Baker Polito Administration’s ongoing support of housing development and the infrastructure investment that make it all possible.”
"The funding for the engineering to install over 8,000 feet of ADA accessible sidewalks and bike lanes in Barre is a great first step in improving pedestrian safety along a major corridor in town,” said Barre Town Administrator Andrew M. Golas. “This project would ultimately connect Quabbin Regional High School to the center of Barre’s downtown, public safety building and areas prime for new development. Our ultimate goal is to create a walkable community, expands housing availability and inspires new business developments that benefit our town for years to come."
“I would like to thank Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito and Secretary Kennealy for their continued support of our local communities. This DHCD grant will be a tremendous asset in bringing the sidewalks in the Campello neighborhood into ADA compliance, as well as improving the general walkability of the area,” said Senator Michael D. Brady. “Pedestrian access has long suffered due to the vehicle centric planning decisions of previous generations, but through these state/municipal partnerships we can usher Brockton towards a prosperous future.”
“The improved ADA-compliant pedestrian infrastructure will enable the residents of the Campello district to more freely and safely travel within the community, regardless of their physical abilities,” said Representative Gerry Cassidy. “By constructing safe routes connecting public transportation to the community, we are creating the opportunity for economic growth in our city.”
“This grant will allow the city of Brockton to increase pedestrian accessibility from the Campello Neighborhood to Keith Park and to the Commuter Rail Station. Investment in ADA- compliant pedestrian infrastructure will provide residents a safe way to access Keith Park and our public transportation system,” said Representative Claire Cronin. “The Housing Choice Grant is a great example of state government investing in local municipalities to support initiatives that improve our cities.”
“The saying ‘Many hands make light work’ is true in the improvements happening in and around Keith Park. Investment from citizens, Keith Park Neighborhood Association, State, City, and now Private investment are changing this section of Brockton for the better,” said Representative Michelle DuBois. “Thank you to DHCD for improving pedestrian safety in this neighborhood thru this grant award!”
The Baker-Polito Administration has shown a deep commitment to increasing the production of housing across income levels. Since 2015, the administration has invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing, resulting in the production and preservation of more than 18,000 housing units, including 16,000 affordable units. In 2018, Governor Baker signed the largest housing bond bill in Massachusetts history, committing more than $1.8 billion to the future of affordable housing production and preservation, which included more than $600 million to address capital needs in our state-aided public housing portfolio. The administration has also advanced the development of more than 14,000 mixed-income housing units through the successful MassWorks Infrastructure Program, reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, and worked with communities to implement smart-growth development and planning efforts.
Capital Grant Awards
The Town of Billerica will undertake the design and construction of new accessible concrete sidewalks along Boston Road from Lowell Street to Alpine Street, connecting 179-units of housing to retail buildings and connecting to existing pedestrian pathways to the North Billerica Commuter Rail Station.
Boston will install new seating, lighting, vegetation, and granite curbing along the Jackson Square Partners (JSP) Greenway, a pedestrian pathway connecting Amory Avenue to Centre Street. The JSP Greenway will enhance and connect three housing development projects: 75 Amory Avenue, 25 Amory Street, and 250 Centre Street. These three projects represent more than 190 housing-units, with affordable, middle-income, and market-rate tiers.
This award will enable the completion of Curve Street water line, enabling the addition of 150 homes at the Duxburrow Estates development. This key infrastructure improvement provides this new mixed income neighborhood with water as well as 14 existing homes on Curve street currently served by wells.
Brockton will add ADA-compliant pedestrian infrastructure to connect the Campello neighborhood and several proposed development sites, through Keith Park, to the Campello MBTA Commuter Rail Station. These “first mile/last mile” connections are crucial to enable more housing production near transit. This Gateway City leads in best practices related to housing production, including 40R districts, Urban Renewal and HDIP.
Canton will use award funds to undertake preliminary engineering design for the reconstruction part of Neponset Street from Washington Street through Chapman Street, including the Walpole and Neponset Street intersection. These infrastructure improvements will directly support the development of the Paul Revere Heritage Site, a planned 272-unit multi-family transit-oriented development project.
The Town will preserve an historic schoolhouse by converting it to 9 units of affordable housing with a preference for veterans. This award will fund environmental remediation, engineering, architecture and other upfront eligible costs for the conversion of the Dracut Centre School. This project recently received state-support through the Community Scale Housing Initiative.
Everett will fund design and engineering costs associated with the "St. Therese" affordable housing redevelopment sponsored by The Neighborhood Developers, Inc. (TND). St. Therese will create 77-units of affordable housing, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to promote aging-in-community, and build six townhouses for middle-income families for a total of 83 affordable-units.
Foxborough will fund the design of a sewer extension from the future site of 250 new housing units on 16 acres owned by the Foxborough Housing Authority (FHA) at the corner of Walnut Street and Route 140 to the existing sewer main. Funding will also support the planning and design of transportation improvements at the intersection of Commercial Street (Route 140) at Walnut Street.
This award will support the conversion of an unutilized church into a 10-unit affordable homeownership development. The development will create affordable homeownership opportunities through a community-based land trust, with ownership possible for residents at 60% of Area Median Income (AMI). Four new townhouses will be built along 430-432 Washington Street and another six units along Gilbert Avenue.
This award will enable Hingham to create two units of affordable family housing near transit and commercial activities. The Town will renovate two 3-bedroom homes recently purchased by the Town’s Affordable Housing Trust and connect the units to public sewer.
Lowell will undertake a city-wide comprehensive parking study to address recent development, including new housing, UMass Lowell facilities and employment in downtown. The study will focus on solutions for the downtown area, as well as surrounding neighborhoods and the entire city, and include rigorous community/stakeholder input and analysis.
Malden will implement Complete Streets roadway improvements on Dartmouth Street, near the MBTA commuter rail station to increase multi-modal access in the downtown area which has seen the construction of more than 1,000 units of housing in the past five years. The work, part of a five-year Capital Improvement Plan, includes adjustment of utility structures, removing/resetting granite curb, reconstruction of cement concrete sidewalks, driveways, wheelchair ramps and thermoplastic line striping.
Mansfield will make improvements to a multipurpose trail from Samoset Avenue along a portion of North Main Street to Old Colony Way, ending at Thomas Street and the pedestrian bridge over Route 106, providing access between new housing and commercial stores to the MBTA commuter rail station.
This award will fund engineering, survey and design work of 2,400 feet of new sidewalk on West Street to provide a walkable connection from the Glen Brook Way development to commercial areas in Medway and Bellingham. Glen Brook Way is the site of an approved Chapter 40B housing development, which will provide 48 rental apartments and 44-units of age-restricted housing. The work includes traffic reconfiguration, new sidewalks, drainage, and crosswalks.
Methuen will fund engineering, survey, and design work to upgrade two intersections to conform to ADA/AAB standards in Gaunt Square, a part of the city’s downtown. The project will also reconstruct existing non-compliant sidewalks and wheelchair ramps, construct new ADA/AAB compliant wheelchair ramps and crosswalks where required and install accessible pedestrian traffic signals and detectors with audible tones and/or vibrating surfaces. The project area is near recently completed or planned housing and commercial development.
Newton will undertake a pre-development feasibility analysis for conversion of the Newton Armory into affordable housing. This will support the Open for Business transition from state to city ownership. The consultant team will work with the Planning Department to define project parameters such as costs, historic preservation considerations, hazardous materials, design possibilities, potential unit count, and financing options that will inform a subsequent RFP to select a qualified affordable housing developer to redevelop the Armory.
This award will fund the preparation of a wastewater master plan for Norfolk Center to evaluate the existing wastewater treatment plant for expansion, prepare a wastewater collection system plan, and prepare wastewater master plan. The effort will review the required permitting to leverage unused sewer capacity and potentially extend sewer lines to encourage new development at vacate sites and increased development in areas that have capacity for more density.
Watertown will undertake a renovation and park modernization project along a portion of Arsenal Park to enhance the area with visual and pedestrian access from Arsenal Street through Arsenal Yards and publicly accessible open space. This new gateway entrance and renovation will increase access to recreational space for residents of the 880 new housing units in this area as well as visitors. The enhanced area will also provide a setting for potential pop-up events, include cultural events, music, and theater.
This award will fund preliminary engineering design services for reconstruction of Columbian Square to facilitate revitalization, remediate traffic concerns caused by recent housing development in the adjoining Union Point (formerly the Southfield Naval Air Station), and encourage additional growth of mixed-use development in the square.
The City of Worcester will undertake street improvements to Green Street allowing the city to complete the final infrastructure improvements around the Harding Green mixed-use development. Located on a 1.37-acre parcel, Harding Green is a mixed-used, four-story building with 48 rental units, as well as a first floor diner and public market. The resurfacing and line striping project will enhance safety, economic activity, and quality of life by improving access to neighborhoods and commercial areas, and implement universal design to increase access for all.
Small Town Awards
Barre will undertake engineering and design work to meet Complete Streets standards on roads near both Ruggles Lane Elementary School and Quabbin Regional High School campus to improve walkability in the community, and encouraging students to walk to school.
Becket will use funds to renovate an abandoned property to create an affordable housing unit in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Abandoned Housing Initiative. This unit will be the Town’s first deed restricted affordable housing unit. The Town crafted a funding package of local CPA monies and two state programs.
The Town of Berlin will repave the Town Hall parking lot to improve safety, facilitate water run-off and remove landscaping islands which inhibit plowing efforts. Town Hall is a community resource accessed by many residents for senior activities and a food pantry making safety improvements a priority for this small town.
Bolton will make drainage and flood control improvements in three areas on South Bolton and Spectacle Hill Roads, including near the entrance of a 78-lot subdivision currently under construction. Portions of these roads flood annually causing unsafe travel conditions and road damage near new housing developments.
Buckland will conduct the Phase II of a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey (SSES) that will enable the town to make improvements to its wastewater treatment facility in order to correct inflow and infiltration problems. [No changes]
Manchester will undertake an analysis of options to decommission the existing Wastewater Treatment Plant to allow redevelopment of the site for transit-oriented development that includes housing. Engineering and consultant services will evaluate options for connecting to the City of Beverly's wastewater collection system or constructing a new pipeline through Beverly to directly connect to South Essex Sewerage District.
Plympton will use funds to undertake a feasibility study and develop a Concept Design Plan to guide the planning process for the use of 26 acres of town-owned property in the Center of Plympton, known as "The Town Campus” with the goal to develop a Land-use Plan for existing and recently obtained parcels of town-owned property.
Rochester will install a lift in the town library to allow ADA access to the lower level. In accordance with the library’s long-term plan, this will open up needed space for library programs and make library operations more efficient by eliminating the need for off-site storage.
This grant will fund the design and construction of a sidewalk to create a safe connection between three multi-family projects to the primary business district of Sherborn. Sidewalk infrastructure in this rural town is a priority to allow new residents to safely access retail opportunism without a car.
Wellfleet will use award funds to design a water distribution system for 30 – 40 affordable/community housing on a town owned site and upgrade an existing water main that connects the required redundant water source with the balance of the system. The proposed housing units will address the shortage of year-round housing in the community, but will require a larger water main to provide hydraulic pressure necessary to meet DEP requirements for secondary or redundant water sources.