- Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Media Contact for Lt. Governor Polito Celebrates $8.4 Million in MassWorks Investments in Central Massachusetts
Colleen Arons, Communications Director
BOSTON – August 13, 2018 – Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito celebrated $8.4 million in MassWorks Infrastructure Program investments in five projects, directly impacting six communities and benefitting the broader Central Massachusetts region. These investments have supported the development of 50,000 square feet of commercial space, more than 100 new housing units and have attracted tens of million in private investment dollars. The Lt. Governor and local officials participated in ribbon cuttings in Leominster, Phillipston, Gardner, Shirley, and Groton to mark the completion of public infrastructure projects that will strengthen communities and benefit local economies.
“The MassWorks Infrastructure program remains one of our administration’s most effective tools to spur economic development by allowing both large cities and small towns in Massachusetts to tackle local projects through a flexible resource,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These infrastructure projects create new growth opportunities and strengthen existing regional assets, supporting housing production, job growth and commercial development across the Commonwealth.”
“I am thrilled to spend the day here in Central Massachusetts celebrating these projects that are pivotal to local economic development,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Today we mark the completion of the first regional MassWorks award to two communities – the reconstruction of Petersham and Popple Camp Roads that link the towns of Phillipston and Petersham, a powerful example of how the flexibility offered through MassWorks meets the needs of the Commonwealth’s diverse communities. These investments enable communities to take real action against their local growth plans, attracting private investment and driving regional economic prosperity.”
In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569), which included a $500 million reauthorization of the MassWorks program to fund investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth. Last week, the Governor signed economic development legislation that includes an additional $250 million in new MassWorks authorization.
“We continue to work with municipalities across the state to help them carry out long-term planning efforts to create vibrant, walkable downtowns, and encourage private development that enhance the local economy and improve quality of life,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “MassWorks is an important tool in that effort and we are pleased to fund shovel-ready projects that make an outsized impact in the community, including the five Central Massachusetts projects we celebrate today, and many more to come thanks to the signing of the new economic development package.”
In 2016, MassWorks awarded Leominster $2.5 million to its downtown to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure and make roadway and sidewalk improvements that support private investments. MassWorks infrastructure also supported downtown housing development, including the redevelopment of the former W. S. Reed Toy Company mill into 36 units of market-rate housing.
The MassWorks project supports active commercial developments in the downtown including a new restaurant office space at 37 Mechanic Street by Bovenzi, Inc. and historic tax credits have been approved for the proposed market rate housing development at 45 Summer Street. The city contributed $300K towards the project and with the MassWorks funds, unlocked $11.5M in private investment. The private component includes investments in four downtown developments including the Enterprise Bank that opened for business in June 2018.
“The downtown MassWorks grant replaced infrastructure that was over 100 years old,” said Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella. “These improvements will not only ensure we can support our businesses and residents, but that we can continue to support the expansion of our downtown economy. Since 2014, the Baker-Polito Administration has provided more than $10 million in state grants to downtown Leominster which has leveraged $30 million in private funding. Without their support, these improvements would not have been possible.”
The MassWorks award $1.35 million to the Towns of Phillipston and Petersham supported regional collaboration between the two towns for the reconstruction of Petersham and Popple Camp Roads. MassWorks funds reclaimed and repaved 4.8 miles of local arterials to connect the two town centers and provide direct access to Route 101 and Route 32. In addition to improving roadway access for residents and visitors, the MassWorks award supported increased response times for regional emergency services essential to both towns.
The project completed the full reclamation and repaving of Route 101 from the Phillipston town center to Route 32 in Petersham. The reclamation work consisted of pulverizing the existing road, stabilizing the existing materials, and repaving the road to provide improved resistance and higher carrying capacity. Associated Project components included drainage, landscaping, guardrail and striping work.
“This is a major improvement in our local infrastructure that will make travel safer and more efficient,” said John Telepciak, Chair of the Phillipston Board of Selectmen. “Without the support of the Baker-Polito Administration, we could never undertake a project of this scale on our limited local resources.”
“Petersham is very grateful for the ongoing support of Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito,” said Nancy Allen, Chair of the Petersham Board of Selectmen. “This project demonstrates their continuing commitment to serving the needs of central Massachusetts communities.”
In 2015, Gardner was awarded a MassWorks grant for the Rear Main Street Corridor redevelopment project to allow for the connection of Rear Main Street to Willow Street. This connection facilitates Gardner’s Downtown Urban Renewal plan, supports existing businesses and encourages new development along the corridor. The project consisted of property acquisition, demolition of a vacant, blighted building, and the design and construction of a public way known as Derby Drive.
The $1,750,000 MassWorks grant facilitated the redevelopment of Phase I of the Rear Main Street Corridor. The award paved the way for Phase II of the project to occur in the future, which will provide parking to support 23 existing businesses and 60 residential units along Main Street. The project improved access to a $4 million Cumberland Farms completed next to the site and the new police station that opened in May of 2015.
“Phase I of the Rear Main Street Revitalization Project has allowed the city to remediate and demolish the last remaining vacant and decadent building in the corridor and link the new Library and Police Station sites with a multi-use path that will eventually connect the downtown to both the Hospital and College from this location,” said Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke. “This partnership with the Commonwealth and Gardner Redevelopment Authority was a catalyst to the new $4 million Cumberland Farms project adjacent to the Police Station. Now that this project is complete we can focus on cleaning up the remainder of this corridor to encourage additional public and private investment in our downtown.”
In 2016, Shirley was awarded a $725,000 MassWorks grant to make necessary repairs to the Main Street Bridge over Catacunemaug Brook, ensuring the continuity of roadway connections between the Town’s public safety buildings, and the surrounding community. The Town of Shirley provided $82,700 in matching funds to support the public infrastructure project.
The project addressed critical public safety needs for the Town, like faster response times from the Shirley Fire and Ambulance Station and the Police Station, located on opposite sides of the bridge. The bridge repair improved regional access, most notably to the MBTA commuter rail station, the Massachusetts Correctional Institution – Shirley, and the future Devens assisted living facility.
“The Main Street Bridge was in desperate need of repairs. The bridge, listed on the State Register of Historical Places, needed major structural renovation; without this state grant for approximately $700,00, we would still be looking at a bridge that was in a serious state of deterioration and getting worse,” said Shirley Town Administrator Michael McGovern. “This program is a lifesaver to many local communities.”
“I'm grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for funding the fixing of the Main Street Bridge in downtown Shirley, which has been a complaint of Shirley residents for over two decades,” said State Senator Jamie Eldridge. “I'm pleased to have advocated for this state grant with Rep. Jennifer Benson, and Shirley town officials.”
"The Town of Shirley has been seeking to repair the Main Street Bridge for some time, and I was happy to support their application for a MassWorks grant in 2016," said State Representative Jennifer Benson. "I'm grateful to MassWorks for providing the funding to repair the bridge, and to the Lieutenant Governor for being here to celebrate the completion of this important infrastructure project."
In 2016, the Town of Groton received a $2.07 million award to provide critical sewer connections needed for the revitalization and redevelopment of the Four Corners Village area. Groton constructed a new wastewater collection system that will support immediate commercial development at Four Corners Village, as well as new industrial expansion in Groton and Ayer. The grant leveraged $300,000 contributed by Groton for 100% design and engineering and $677,000 from Ayer for the pump station needed for higher capacity.
The new wastewater capacity supports efforts by the Town of Groton to create a walkable, mixed-use village on 16 acres of former National Grid property. In addition to unlocking the development in Groton, the new sewer line is enabling additional growth in Ayer’s industrial corridor. Businesses like Orion Industries and OX3 Corporation can now tie into the new sewer line for their expansion. By partnering, Groton and Ayer are creating an important link between disparate uses- homes, industry and businesses while maximizing the economic development potential of the area.
“From the beginning of Groton’s planning efforts, the Town has sought a balanced development at the Four Corners Village, which includes businesses, open space, and residential growth,” said Groton Town Manager Mark Haddad. “The area has lost commercial tenants because on-site sewage disposal had reached its limit. For Groton, the MassWorks infrastructure grant was the final step in advancing this important economic opportunity.”
"MassWorks grants are the lifeblood of the communities and we are so grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for making sure that the towns and cities are getting the money they need to improve their infrastructure and growth of their businesses," said Representative Sheila C. Harrington.
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 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, 1,200 new hotel rooms, and commercial/retail space.