Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined local officials in Montague to celebrate the first round of the Rural and Small Town (R&ST) Development Fund grant program, awarding a total of $3 million in grants to support local projects in communities with populations below 7,000 people or a population density of less than 500 people per square mile. This program was created in the Economic Development Legislation signed by Governor Baker in January 2021 and is part of the Community One Stop for Growth platform for municipalities.
Across the Commonwealth, 16 communities will receive grants ranging from $24,000 to $400,000 to pursue local projects, including physical infrastructure improvements, property acquisition, equipment purchases, or to procure feasibility, engineering, or schematic designs or studies.
“The Rural and Small Town Development Fund is an important new resource for our smaller communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This program is the result of a collaborative process with our colleagues in the Legislature, and I congratulate the communities receiving funding today to pursue local projects.”
“Municipalities of every size and in every region of the Commonwealth share similar goals on initiatives to support vibrant communities, affordable housing and healthy neighborhoods,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to support our small towns and rural communities with today’s funding and responsive programming to address local needs.”
“Throughout the Commonwealth, we see example after example of how small projects can build momentum for transformative development in communities that plan for growth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “We are proud to create responsive programming to support municipalities, including here in Montague where sewer improvements will ensure local organizations and institutions can grow and adapt to future demand.”
The town of Montague will replace a sewer pump station that serves important local institutions, including the Franklin County Technical School, Ja’Duke Performing Arts Center, and an early education and childcare facility with a $169,000 award.
“DHCD works with municipalities of all sizes in the Commonwealth to assist in planning for community growth and improving the quality of life of all residents,” said Housing and Community Development Secretary Jennifer Maddox. “We are happy to support our rural and small towns carry out a variety of activities in support of residents, small businesses, and local workforce.”
“I am grateful to Secretary Mike Kennealy and The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for their commitment to our small and rural towns through the new Rural and Small Town Development Fund program,” said Senator Joanne Comerford. “The projects funded today will provide support for western Massachusetts communities to complete critical planning and infrastructure maintenance and replacement to attract new affordable housing, industrial, and commercial development. Programs like this, geared toward the needs of small and rural towns, are exactly what we need to help lay the foundation for rural communities to begin to address challenges of aging infrastructure and low population and tax bases.”
“Investments like these have profound effects on our small, rural towns -particularly in light of recent state reports that highlight the substantial level of crumbling infrastructure in western Massachusetts,” said Representative Natalie Blais. “These state dollars will support communities, local businesses and organizations in countless ways and I offer my sincere congratulations to today’s awardees.”
“Montague is deeply grateful for this grant, which will enable timely and cost-effective improvements to a critical piece of infrastructure,” said Montague Town Administrator Steven Ellis. “The Airport Industrial Park pump station is essential to maintaining services to several major employers, including a range of commercial enterprises and educational institutions.”
The Rural and Small Town Development Fund grant program is part of the Commonwealth’s Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for community and economic development grant programs that make targeted investments based on a Development Continuum. In the 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.?
2021 Rural and Small Town Development Fund Awards
The Town of Avon will specify, bid, purchase and commission an emergency drinking interconnect pump system.
The Town of Cummington will create a redevelopment design plan for reuse of the public owned Community House to provide town planners tools on how to invest capital dollars into the building to maximize efficiency and generate revenue.
The Town of Eastham will create a Master Site Development Plan (MSDP) for a town-owned, 11-acre parcel known as “T-Time” for a mixed use, village center development including site layout, scaling, design, and implementation, including public design charettes, a report of site infrastructure and zoning needs, and a final report with implementation schedule and architectural renderings.
The Town of Edgartown will create a revised Master Plan to address present-day concerns such as climate change adaptation, renewable energy, affordable housing, and mixed-use development. The revised master plan will reflect updated studies addressing affordable housing, regional transportation, multi-modal transport systems, ‘form based’ zoning, expansion of retail and trades zoning, and upgrade of vulnerable municipal resources and facilities.
The Town of Erving will review current zoning bylaws to encourage housing options including affordable housing, commercial and industrial development in appropriate areas, and eliminate redundancies and errors.
The Town of Hopedale will study current traffic, parking, and circulation in Hopedale Village Center and make recommendations for changes and improvements to create effective traffic flows, parking areas and circulation, additional traffic and parking, and connectivity to the foundation of Complete Streets.
The Town of Lincoln will create design and engineering plans to expand an existing wastewater treatment plant that services the Mall in the Village Center and a 125-unit mixed income residential property. The expansion will support Mall redevelopment to include mixed-use on a site adjacent to the Lincoln Commuter Rail station.
The Town of Montague will replace an existing sewer pump station securing its life for the coming 25+ years and ensuring no substantial interruption of services to the largest base of industry and employment in Montague, the Franklin County Technical School, the Ja’Duke Performing Arts, and Early Childcare facility.
The Town of Orange will complete a certified housing production plan to proactive plan and develop affordable housing in locations that are well intentioned and reflect the community’s needs.
The Town of Princeton will update select chapters of its community Master Plan and create a comprehensive guide for the next 10 to 20 years, as part of a Master Plan in several phases. This first phase will complete the Economic Development, Open Space and Recreation, and Land Use elements. The recommendations of these elements will inform the development of future elements including Public Services & Facilities, Transportation, Housing, Natural & Cultural Resources, and other topics.
The Town of Tisbury will design, fabricate, install, and test an enhanced denitrification wastewater treatment system that will serve a neighborhood of 20 affordable rental apartments being developed increasing affordable housing and reducing nitrogen from private wastewater systems.
The Town of Topsfield will create multi-modal improvements for streets and sidewalks approaching Downtown Topsfield and the Town Common along Washington Street and reconstruct portions of each intersection to provide a consistent cross-section, increase and improve existing pedestrian infrastructure, and address identified traffic safety challenges.
The Town of Truro will create an innovative alternative wastewater treatment system for the Cloverleaf Community Housing Project to treat wastewater effluent generated by the project that was critical to its approval and will help reduce the nitrate level in the wastewater effluent.
The Town of Westport will permit and design a new sewer system for the entire length of Route 6, approximately 4.5 miles, to provide for future expansion into the abutting residential neighborhoods and provide capacity for future development.
The Town of Whately will hire a consultant to complete and submit to DHCD a Housing Production Plan for certification.
The Town of Williamstown will create specification and schematic designs for redesign phase of a Fire Station built in 1950 to improve and meet standards and guidelines as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Aire Force Fire Station Design Guide to improve the station’s response time, deployment, and rescue process.