BOSTON, MA — On Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy joined members of the Legislature and local officials to announce the 2020 Round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program. This year’s awards will invest nearly $68 million in 36 projects to support housing, economic development and road safety projects in 35 cities and towns from across the Commonwealth. The awards were announced during a virtual ceremony, and are part of the Administration’s comprehensive economic recovery initiative, Partnerships for Recovery.
Among the grant recipients was the Town of Wilmington and Princeton Properties, who received $2,891,000 in funding to support a combined sewer extension, culvert replacement, and road improvement project that will improve traffic safety on Middlesex Avenue and unlock a transit-oriented housing development adjacent to a Commuter Rail station. This development will bring a total of 108 new housing units, including 22 affordable units.
“MassWorks provides essential funding to cities and towns for infrastructure projects that spur housing production, create jobs and attract private investment, which are particularly important during our economic recovery,” said Governor Charlie Baker.“We are grateful for our partnerships, both with the Legislature and with local officials, that make these investments possible, and we look forward to continued collaboration to support Massachusetts’ economy.”
“The MassWorks program plays a critical role in filling in the needed funding gaps that would otherwise keep these key projects from moving forward and inhibit substantial private investments in the main streets and downtowns of municipalities across the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.“By providing flexible funding to our local partners, we are empowering these communities to move ahead with projects that will have an immediate and lasting impact on their commercial districts, housing stock and residents.”
In total, the 2020 MassWorks awards will help create more than 3,500 new housing units, including over 1,000 affordable units; result in more than 3,900 new jobs, support over 7,000 construction jobs, and leverage more than $1.6 billion in private investment. Among this year’s projects, 23 are reactivating underutilized sites, 20 are transit-oriented developments, 14 have a mixed-use component; nine are in Gateway Cities, and eight are roadway projects in small and rural communities. Additionally, eight towns are receiving their first ever MassWorks award. The transformative projects funded by the 2020 awards were selected through a competitive process that received 100 applications, totaling nearly $208 million in requests.
“This year’s MassWorks round funds public infrastructure projects directly aligned with key strategic goals of our plan for economic recovery, namely, revitalizing our downtowns and main streets, getting people back to work, and supporting housing opportunity,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “As part of our administration’s laser-focus on addressing the impacts of the pandemic, MassWorks makes the kinds of targeted investments that will foster economic recovery by unlocking new commercial and residential development, while also creating jobs, both during construction and on a permanent basis once the project is complete.”
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the Commonwealth’s hardest hit communities, the Administration prioritized projects that are at an advanced stage of planning, design, and permitting. These projects, which are ready to start construction in spring 2021, also support strategic goals that are central toPartnerships for Recovery. For example, the City of Haverhill will use MassWorks funds for infrastructure improvements that will unlock 290 housing units and new retail space, and create 20 permanent full-time jobs. In Leominster, water and sewer upgrades will benefit the expansion of the Mall at Whitney Field. As a result of public infrastructure investments, the cities of Brockton and Pittsfield will also realize new redevelopment opportunities through both commercial and residential projects.
“These MassWorks grants are transformative for communities across the Commonwealth,”said Senator Eric P. Lesser, Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “During a time when we’re navigating economic recovery from the pandemic and being hit with a second wave, it is important to make these investments in our infrastructure to put people to work, rebuild our communities, and continue the fight for equal opportunity.”
“Congratulations to the grant recipients!” said Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. “As the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, I want to commend my colleagues for their steadfast support of MassWorks funding and working in partnership with the Administration to provide dollars to these vital projects to grow local jobs and generate revenue for cities, towns and the Commonwealth.
Each year, the MassWorks program allocates 10 percent of awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety projects. Towns like Avon, Buckland, Harvard, Phillipston, and Plainfield will see extensive roadway improvements as well as upgrades to culverts and underground water and sewer utilities along critical thoroughfares utilized by emergency first responders, school buses, residents, and commuters. These MassWorks-funded projects will improve public safety, prevent the need for lengthy, long-term detours, and preserve housing density.
Since 2015, and including this year’s round, the Baker-Polito Administration has invested nearly $533 million in grant funds to support public infrastructure projects, with 259 awards spread out across 157 cities and towns. These grants have unlocked and leveraged over $10.8 billion in private investment, supported the creation of more than 17,000 new housing units, and led to tens of thousands of new permanent and construction jobs.
The MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program, administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, is a competitive grant program that provides a flexible source of capital funds to municipalities and other eligible public entities for public infrastructure projects that produce housing, create jobs, and generate additional private sector investment.
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