The following is a press release from the Governor’s office submitted to SOURCE, a digital news media outlet.
FRAMINGHAM — Today, January 8, Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy joined Senate President Karen Spilka, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Representative Carmine Gentile, Representative Maria Robinson, and other local leaders to announce a $3.4 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to Framingham.
The project will reconstruct an intersection in the Nobscot Village area of Framingham, leveraging $2.4 million in local funds and unlocking $43.5 million in private investment.
The MassWorks funding will allow the City of Framingham to reconstruct the intersection of Edgell and Edmands roads, and Water Street to increase traffic safety, mitigate congestion, and enhance bicycle and pedestrian accommodations along a downtown MWRTA bus route.
The project will unlock a $43.5 million redevelopment of the Nobscot Plaza, a blighted commercial property and long-time anchor of the intersection. This redevelopment will create 160 units of multi-family housing (including 15 percent affordable and middle-income), more than 25,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial space, and an expanded, 13,500 square-foot pharmacy.
“MassWorks is a valuable program that maximizes return on investment for capital funding, delivering vital infrastructure repairs that improve public safety while stimulating local and private development, job growth and housing production,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We will continue to collaborate closely with local leaders to identify opportunities and target public resources toward the growth and wellbeing of communities across the Commonwealth.”
“I’m thrilled that, with this MassWorks investment, the City of Framingham can begin work on an important project which, when completed, will enhance the lives of commuters and residents alike,” said Senate President Karen Spilka. “By reconstructing this intersection, we are paving the way for smart redevelopment of Nobscot Village, and making vital improvements to reduce congestion and increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists in Framingham.”
“As former municipal leaders, Governor Baker and I know firsthand the value of flexible grant programs like MassWorks, which help communities make targeted enhancements and provide opportunities for economic development,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Today’s award will reinvigorate Nobscot Village, and become a catalyst for much needed housing and commercial development in Framingham.”
“This administration recognizes the importance of reliable, modern infrastructure to the safety and success of communities of all sizes,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “This exciting project in Framingham will not only have immediate impacts on safety and congestion, it will empower the City to activate long vacant and underutilized properties into new housing and commercial opportunities, continuing this neighborhood’s revitalization.”
Bus shelters, bicycle sharrows, ADA compliant sidewalks, and ornamental accents are among the improvements that will be made along the roadways. The MassWorks award will also support the redevelopment of multiple corner lots for mixed-use and commercial development.
“Nobscot Village holds great potential for not only Framingham but for our larger region. This grant from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program will enhance concurrent projects already underway while also dramatically improving the experience of pedestrians and cyclists, mitigating congestion, and increasing overall traffic safety,” said Representative Jack Lewis.
“This past year was exciting for Framingham. We developed a path to address the revitalization of Nobscot Plaza, which was underutilized for 20 years, and with the recent passing of Nobscot Village (B-4) Zoning, the City of Framingham was able to position itself to be among this round of recipients for MassWorks Grants,” said Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer. “The $3.4 million MassWorks grant, coupled with the submittal of the project at 770 Water St. (aka Nobscot Shopping Plaza) is the beginning of Nobcot’s transformation. Nobscot is well on its way to becoming a vibrant neighborhood village through the collaborative leadership of Framingham’s Department of Public Works; Community and Economic Development; and the Planning Department, as well as the support of the community.”
“Several times a week I drive through the Edgell Road, Edmands Road, and Water Street intersection, often stopping at one of the stores that surround it. This generous grant from the Baker-Polito Administration coupled with city funds will allow a transformation of the area,” said Representative Carmine Gentile. “The combination of new housing and mixed-use commercial space promises to rejuvenate the area and benefit the existing businesses and neighborhood.”
Through the 2019 MassWorks round, the Baker-Polito Administration will award more than $72 million in MassWorks awards to a diverse mix of 36 projects in 35 communities across the Commonwealth, including nine Gateway Cities and eight communities that will receive MassWorks funding for the first time.
The awards will unlock a total of $2.3 billion in private investment and more than 4,600 new full-time jobs, along with more than 3,100 new housing units, more than a third of which are affordable, building on the Administration’s efforts to tackle the ongoing housing shortage through complementary programs like historic funding for affordable housing and the proposed Housing Choice legislation. The transformative projects funded by the 2019 awards were selected from 92 applications, totaling $223 million in requests.
Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $456 million in MassWorks grants to support 219 shovel-ready projects in 141 communities. MassWorks funding has leveraged over $9.2B in private investments and made possible the creation of more than 14,000 new housing units and tens of thousands of construction and permanent jobs.
Governor Baker signed economic development legislation in August 2018 that included substantial new funding for municipalities, including another $250 million for MassWorks awards. The legislation built on the Baker-Polito Administration’s work to partner with communities to catalyze economic development and create new opportunities for residents across the Commonwealth, including the 2016 Job Creation and Workforce Development act, which authorized $1 billion to support economic development efforts across the state, including a $500 million authorization for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, enhanced tools and the introduction of new strategies for job-readiness efforts