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BOSTON — Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash joined community leaders and legislators to announce over $8.5 million in MassWorks Program Infrastructure awards to 10 rural towns. These projects are the first of the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program’s 2017 awards, spurring regional and local roadway improvements in Boxborough, Chester, Colrain, Monroe, Mount Washington, Oakham, Rowe, Southampton, Stockbridge and Warren.
“The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is an important resource for cities and towns pursuing projects that drive local job growth and economic development in the Commonwealth’s communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “From safer streets and bridges to vital access to housing and our downtowns, these projects will further connect the residents of Massachusetts’ rural communities to schools, job opportunities and their neighbors.”
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program makes grants to municipalities for public infrastructure projects that generate additional private sector investment. Each year, the MassWorks program allocates 10% of awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety and transportation improvement projects.
“These projects will enhance public safety and community access for first responders, school buses, residents and tourists in our rural cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Governor Baker and I have been proud to increase funding for and support the reauthorization of MassWorks as a vital and flexible program for upgrading infrastructure across the Commonwealth.”
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation. Since 2015, and including this year’s awards, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $274 million to 134 projects in 106 communities throughout the Commonwealth, spurring the development of over 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space, over 7,000 immediate housing units, at least 7,000 square feet of new public space and 1,200 new hotel rooms and commercial/retail space.
“MassWorks awards are highly sought after funds that make targeted investments in shovel-ready projects,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Communities receiving these awards have made significant efforts to attract private development and undertake impactful infrastructure projects to create new economic opportunities for residents and small businesses in their region.”
“The MassWorks program is one of the most useful tools we have for supporting economic growth in our cities and towns,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “The awards announced today will go a long way to improving critical transportation infrastructure in these communities.”
“MassDOT is proud to work with the Department of Housing and Economic Development on the MassWorks Infrastructure Program,” said Secretary of Transportation and MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack. “These grants will renew critical local infrastructure which connects our residents and visitors in rural communities to the education resources, hospitals, and the good and vital services they need.”
“These grants will address longstanding issues in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “I am grateful that these needs have been recognized and that we are starting to address them.”
“I appreciate the balance the MassWorks program has struck by making sure that rural communities get fair opportunity and access to funding for infrastructure projects,” said Senator Anne Gobi. “Building supplies and labor don’t cost any less out here and Secretary Ash and his team have done a great job of recognizing the needs of our communities.”
“These awards are vital for the small, rural communities of Monroe, Stockbridge, Rowe, Mount Washington and Chester,” said Senator Adam G. Hinds. “Investing in and making improvements to roads and bridges throughout western Mass. is essential if we truly want the entire Commonwealth to be attractive to those seeking a new place to live, study in, visit or do business.”
"I am very pleased that the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded this MassWorks grant to the Town of Chester,” said Representative Stephen Kulik. “These funds will be used to provide crucial repairs to East River Road, which will improve safety and maintain an important access route for residents of Chester and nearby towns. I congratulate Chester on its work bringing this problem to the attention of state officials and I look forward to successful completion of the project.”
In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration has increased MassWorks funding by $35 million over the past two fiscal years.
2017 MassWorks Small Town Rural Assistance Program Award Winners:
Boxborough – Route 111 Pedestrian Improvement Project – $574,683
Boxborough will complete significant pedestrian and roadway improvements that will support the completion of two proposed housing developments, increase walkability in Boxborough’s town center and enhance pedestrian safety for students and families of the Blanchard Memorial School. Additionally, this award will leverage $65,000 in municipal funding.
Chester – East River Road Resurrection – $1,000,000
Chester will address extensive damages to East River Road, including severe cracking, edge deterioration, and dangerous potholes. This substantial road reconstruction will improve access for the residents of Chester, as well as neighboring Middlefield and Worthington, to schools hospitals and other regional facilities.
Colrain – Replacement of Adamsville Road and Call Road Bridges– $1,000,000
Colrain will use MassWorks funds to support the replacement of two municipally-owned bridges; The Adamsville Road Bridge is in imminent danger of failing, and the Call Road Bridge was previously closed in 2016, due to deterioration. These two routes are critical for first-responders, school busses and residents, providing vital services for the community.
Monroe – Kingsley Hill Road, Roadway Safety Improvements – $1,000,000
Monroe will pursue significant roadway and drainage improvements and the restoration of a failing retaining wall to maintain critical access to the town’s water treatment system. MassWorks funds will also address slope erosion affecting northern access to the treatment system.
Mount Washington – Sallie’s Cradle Slope and Culvert Improvements & Related Work – $580,000
Mount Washington will repair and improve East Street, the town’s only direct route between Massachusetts and Connecticut, which is vital for the regional workforce. Without this access point, commuters will need to travel an additional fifteen miles to reenter Massachusetts.
Oakham – Reconstruction & Resurfacing of Ware Corner Rd, Adams Rd, South Rd – $1,000,000
Oakham will use funds for the reconstruction of Ware Corner Road and South Road, replacing failing culverts, and pursuing a full-depth reclamation and repaving projects. This project will improve road safety and transportation for residents, small businesses and emergency vehicles in the town.
Rowe – Cyrus Stage Bridge– $420,000
Rowe will replace the Cyrus Stage Bridge, which serves as a vital route for emergency vehicles and serves as a connection point to the Town of Heath. The Cyrus Stage Bridge is currently rated poorly by MassDOT, and the town is contributing funds for engineering and design costs.
Southampton – East Street Bridge Replacement – $1,000,000
MassWorks funds will support Southampton’s reconstruction of the East Street Bridge, a key route between the town and the City of Holyoke. Southampton will use MassWorks funding to complete the first phase of the project, leveraging Chapter 90 local infrastructure aid. The award will also help the town attract further Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) funds for phase two of construction.
Stockbridge – Replacement of Interlaken Road (Route 183) over Larrywaug Brook – $1,000,000
Stockbridge will leverage a $500,000 award from MassDOT to replace a failing stone arch bridge over the Larrywaug Brook on route 183. MassWorks funds will close the funding gap for the town, allowing Stockbridge to bond the remaining costs.
Warren – Quaboag Street Improvements – $1,000,000
Warren will make roadway, drainage and sidewalk improvements on Quaboag Street, a designated Environmental Justice area, to enhance safety for motorists and pedestrians in the densely developed neighborhood. The MassWorks award will complement a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) award and $20,000 in Chapter 90 local infrastructure aid.