Undersecretary of Community Development Ashley Stolba was joined by state and local officials to announce the next round of MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program awards that will support capital projects in rural and small towns.
In this round, issued through the Community One Stop for Growth program, 12 grants for a combined total of nearly $9.8 million are being made to communities for key roadway safety improvements based on criteria that reserves grant funding for small towns (also known as STRAP).
Included among this round’s grant recipients, the town of Charlemont, where today’s announcement took place, was awarded $720,000 to shift the alignment of a portion of Route 8A/North Heath Road, which will result in safety improvements for vehicular travel and drainage improvements in the vicinity of the project site that will improve the town’s water quality.
“Through the MassWorks program, our Administration is committed to supporting local infrastructure upgrades, especially in rural areas, which unlock new opportunities for jobs and housing through private investment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “With the simplified One Stop process and by setting aside designated funding for rural communities and smaller towns, we can ensure that our economic recovery truly reaches all corners of the Commonwealth.”
“While local infrastructure needs vary across each community, they are all vital for stimulating economic activity, attracting private development, and creating new housing,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “With the combined flexibility offered by MassWorks, and with the addition of the new, streamlined One Stop application process, we look forward to working together to continue making real progress toward municipalities’ economic and community development goals.”
“One Stop’s format is a direct result of engaging with communities, large and small, across the Commonwealth, who told us we needed a new process that was easier to navigate, simpler to access, and all in one place,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “While the first year’s results show tremendous promise, the demand for the program demonstrates we can do more, and One Stop offers an opportunity to ensure valuable program funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time.”
“With substantial process improvements resulting in the new One Stop program and with the flexibility provided through the MassWorks program, our goal is to give more power to communities to achieve their individual visions for growth,” said Undersecretary of Community Development Ashley Stolba. “With this round of grants, we can specifically address the unique needs of rural communities by supporting roadway safety enhancements, improved emergency response times, and more resilient infrastructure that can withstand year-round changes in weather.”
“Investment in public infrastructure is vital for every city and town throughout the Commonwealth, but our rural towns face particular challenges in paying for it,” said Senator Adam Hinds. “This funding made available for projects throughout Western Mass communities unlocks impactful and necessary economic development opportunities.”
“MassWorks grants are a great example of an effective partnership between the legislature, the Governor’s office, and the individual towns to get important local projects completed,” said Representative Paul Mark. “These grant awards will be put to good use in many small towns throughout the region who just don’t have the resources on their own to finish projects of this size. Today’s event is an important reminder of the uphill battle rural communities face and also recognition that state government is listening and working to get resources sent where they are most needed.”
“The revival of our small New England village continues today as we receive a grant to complete the final piece on our two major roads,” said Charlemont Select Board Chair Marguerite Willis. “The Select Board appreciates the opportunity to engage with MassWorks, particularly Mr. Juan Vega and the One Stop Program, as our town strives in partnership with local businesses to focus on expanding town revenues, providing for future generations, and sharing our natural beauty with others.”
MassWorks, a competitive program that offers cities and towns flexible capital funding to support and accelerate housing production and job growth, is the largest program among the One Stop portfolio. This year, the Administration is awarding 56 grants from the infrastructure program – the largest number of awards in a single year in six years – totaling $66.5 million to 50 communities. Among this year’s MassWorks projects, 29 are reactivating underutilized sites, 27 are supporting transit-oriented developments, 29 have a mixed-use component. Additionally, 14 communities are receiving their first ever MassWorks award.
Including this year’s round, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded 326 MassWorks grants to 181 communities, investing over $608 million in public infrastructure projects throughout the state. These grants have directly supported the creation of 21,000 new housing units, tens of thousands of construction and new permanent jobs, while also leveraging over $13 billion in private investment.
All told, since FY16, the Baker-Polito Administration has made 77 STRAP awards totaling $64.7 million to 61 small towns.
One Stop, which was first launched in January 2021, replaced multiple application processes for separate grant programs that support local economic development initiatives with a single application portal that includes a streamlined, collaborative review process.
In One Stop’s first year, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development received 267 Expressions of Interest from 178 communities through the new, simplified process. For this year’s awards, 196 grant applications received a total of $88.7 million for projects in 122 communities. Of the 196 projects awarded, nearly one-third were located in a rural or small town, half were located in a Housing Choice Community, and one-third were located in a Gateway City. Learn more about the programs that are part of the Community One Stop for Growth application process.
Included in this round of grants are the following projects:
Avon: Central/Reservoir Safety/Pedestrian/Bike Improvements, $288,000
Becket: McNerney Road Repairs Project, $1 million
Blandford: North Blandford Road Improvements, $999,000
Bolton: Intersection Safety Improvements at Route 117, $938,000
Charlemont: Route 8A/North Heath Road Realignment, $720,000
Granville: Southern Berkshire Highway Connectivity Improvement, $1 million
Hancock: Dee Road, Goodrich Hollow Road, and Tower Mountain Road Paving Project, $169,000
Heath: Route 8A Safety Improvements Project, $735,000
New Marlborough: Route 57 Major Rehabilitation, Phase 2, $1 million
Peru: East Windsor Road Resurfacing Project, $927,000
Shelburne: Little Mohawk Road Safety Improvements Project, $998,000
Tolland: Schoolhouse Road and Clubhouse Road upgrades, $987,000