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From large Gateway Cities to small, rural communities, the Baker-Polito Administration is investing in public infrastructure upgrades unlocking private investments to support housing production, economic development, and job creation. Infrastructure projects awarded in the 2016 MassWorks Infrastructure Grant program round (34 grants in 33 communities) will generate $1 billion in private investment in communities, as well as enable the immediate development of more than 2,200 new multi-family housing units.

“Our administration believes strongly in partnering with communities.We believe we are most effective when we’re partnering with communities, and supporting development that’s bubbling up from the local level.” said Governor Baker. “By forging strong partnerships between the state, local communities, and the private sector, these MassWorks infrastructure investments will grow the economy, unlock new job growth, and strengthen cities and towns across Massachusetts.”

Governor Baker has put that philosophy into action through the administration’s policy priorities. In August he signed a $1 billion economic development bill, half of which was devoted to the MassWorks program. MassWorks is a powerful tool for community development, as it empowers communities to deliver on their own unique local economic development vision, in truly dynamic ways.

“These grants will empower cities and downs to drive economic revitalization at the local level,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Municipalities will use MassWorks funds to unlock smart growth housing, improve their downtowns, build walkable neighborhoods, support tourism, and attract large-scale commercial development. The MassWorks Infrastructure Program works, because it embraces a wide array of community-driven economic development projects, supporting locally-driven growth.”

In an editorial, the Sentinel & Enterprise leaves no doubt as to why the program is so popular: “We like the MassWorks program, not only because it is a competitive grant, but because public money is tied to private investment. We are big supporters of public-private partnerships to improve cities and help create jobs.”

For rural communities, MassWorks grants mean jobs and public safety enhancements

In kicking off the 2016 grant announcements, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor  joined rural community leaders and legislators at the State House to award the first $8.8 million to support nine rural infrastructure projects, located in ten communities. MassWorks grants will allow the towns to make critical improvements to regionally significant roadways and improve safety and circulation for pedestrians and bicyclists through Complete Streets upgrades.

Charlemont, for example, received $949,000 to repair three bridges, allowing for more commercial traffic and improving emergency vehicle access. “We’ve had problems with traffic. We have problems with people getting to work,” said Charlemont selectman Toby Gould. “This will open up our town.”

Jim Schaefer, who owns the Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont, said infrastructure development goes hand in hand with business development. “These grants are incredibly important,” Schaefer said. “We need these bridges to access our ski area and we employ up to about 300 people in the winter, so there are a lot of jobs at stake.”

For Chesterfield, the $983,750 will allow them to reconstruct a road that borders a regional elementary school, allowing for fast response times for emergency vehicles and a second means of exiting the school. “This is a project we’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Sue Labrie, town administrator in Chesterfield. “This will allow us to do it.”

In recognizing the distance of many of the rural towns receiving MassWorks grants, Lee town administrator Bob Nason thanked the Baker-Polito Administration for the awards saying: “It’s great to know that while we’re distant, we’re not forgotten.”

Coverage from MassLive.com and WWLP used in this section. 

MassWorks grants supercharge Gateway City TDI Districts

The beneficiary of the second biggest 2016 MassWorks grant award, Brockton has already advanced a coordinated plan to build a vibrant, pedestrian- friendly downtown that has attracted new businesses, and fostered investment in job creation and housing development. The new $10 million MassWorks investment will fund the construction of a 474-space municipal parking garage, unlocking the second phase of development of the City’s Enterprise Block. It will also spur the immediate construction of 111 new transit-oriented housing units.

“We’ve been proud to support these efforts, through streetscape improvements funded by a MassWorks grant last year, and through affordable housing funds for the Enterprise Block,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “And, through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative, we have staff on the ground here, providing intensive planning and technical assistance, to accelerate the renewal of downtown Brockton.”

Brockton has used redevelopment tools from the state — Urban Renewal, Chapter 40R smart growth zoning, and the Housing Development Incentive Program, for market-rate Gateway City housing development — in a strategic, coordinated manner to create a downtown that is poised for dynamic growth.

“I believe [this garage] will spur half a dozen redevelopment project in downtown once it’s built,” said Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter. “This is a major commitment on the part of the state that will ensure that the city will be able to move forward with all of its downtown revitalization projects.” (Enterprise)

In Haverhill, MassWorks funds will continue the City’s efforts to revitalize the Merrimack Street corridor, supporting two economic development projects in their TDI district. “I’m excited about job creation for one reason, because the state of Massachusetts stepped up and put their money up on the table to create the spark,” said developer Sal Lupoli. “As a result of the spark you created, look what we have here today.” (Eagle Tribune)

For Worcester, $2.3 million is advancing the City’s ongoing efforts to create a walkable urban area along the Main Street Central Business District, by making streetscape improvements that encourage private investment. The City of New Bedford will upgrade infrastructure along Union Street, with streetscape investments advancing a $10 million private investments to redevelop a vacant building into a 68-room boutique hotel.

In Revere and Salem, state investments mean housing

“This is a really important piece of what’s been the plans to really develop a new neighborhood,” said Tom Daniel, the city of Salem’s planning and community development director. “It’s the transformation of an old industrial and largely vacant area of town that is going to see a tremendous amount of new investment.” (Salem News)

With $3.5 million from MassWorks, Salem will make Complete Street enhancements and unlock the $40 million redevelopment of the former Osram Sylvania industrial site into 117 housing units. “We’re elated to receive the funding and so grateful to the Baker administration,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said.

For Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, the series of public infrastructure upgrades to water, sewer, and utility systems, as well as street and sidewalk work, made possible through the City’s $3.63 million MassWorks award will lead to elusive economic development.

“Much of the economic growth that we’ve seen in the Commonwealth has historically skipped the city of Revere and everyone here know what’s about to change,” Mayor Arrigo said during the award announcement that was attended by Governor Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo. (Daily Item)

The infrastructure enhancements will unlock the redevelopment of six acres of abandoned former commercial property, enabling a $90 million private investment in the construction of 220 housing units, and a new 132-room hotel, just a quarter mile from the Beachmont MBTA station.

State partners with Boston, Somerville on transit-oriented developments

With the MBTA’s Orange Line traveling through Boston’s Jackson Square, and the Green Line through Union Square in Somerville, both locations are important neighborhoods for large transit-oriented developments and community building.

Governor Baker joined Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in Jackson Square to announce $3.4 million towards the City’s investments in the Jackson Square neighborhood, knitting together Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.

“I’m incredibly proud to be making this award today because the Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative is one of the Commonwealth’s great community development stories,” said Governor Baker. “The Jackson Square Redevelopment Initiative is the result of a collective effort to repair the fabric of this community, by creating affordable housing, storefronts that create jobs, and safe places for youth.”

MassWorks infrastructure funds will allow Boston to make a number of public infrastructure improvements around the Jackson Square MBTA station, including new pedestrian walkways and bike paths linked to the Orange Line station, a new public road, sewer line improvements, and a new 3,000 square foot community plaza. The infrastructure improvements will unlock Phase III of the Jackson Square redevelopment project, private investments of $62.6 million in the construction of two new mixed-income housing properties creating 144 new housing units, including 72 affordable apartments, and 2,400 square feet of retail space.

Mayor Walsh noted that this investment in infrastructure “represents our committed future working together. We plan, we invest, we build because we believe in this community, and the potential of this community and all of our communities.”

In Somerville, $13 million will help the City advance an ambitious, multi-year overhaul and redevelopment of Union Square’s water and sewer infrastructure. These infrastructure improvements will enable Union Square Station Associates to invest $200 million in private funds in the redevelopment of Union Square, delivering 400 new units of housing, and 180,000 square feet of new commercial space.

“This redevelopment effort is a true public-private partnership and an example of deep collaboration between the Commonwealth and the City of Somerville,” said Governor Baker.

This year’s grant (along with $25.7 million in local funding) builds on a collaborative efforts that began last year, when the City of Somerville provided a $3.5 million match to the state’s $3.3 million MassWorks grant, to make streetscape improvements along Prospect Street, in Union Square.  All told, these infrastructure funds will allow for $1 billion in private investment in redevelopment.

“We face an incredibly important moment in Somerville’s history and seize this enormous opportunity to create jobs, open space, housing and other benefits we need, we cannot allow integrated infrastructure to slow down the progress that so many of us have here today worked on so hard to achieve. The governor’s administration recognized that as well,” said Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone. “They also recognize that this work is an essential companion to the Green Line Extension.”

About MassWorks

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. The 2016 grant round generated 114 applications, requesting $287 million in public infrastructure grant funding. Infrastructure projects awarded in the 2016 grant round will generate $1 billion in private investment in communities. Since its inception in 2011, the MassWorks program has invested $419 million through competitive grant rounds, in 223 projects throughout the Commonwealth. 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.

What local leaders are saying about MassWorks:

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