BELLINGHAM — Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Bellingham Town Administrator Denis Fraine, Senator Ryan C. Fattman, Representative Michael J. Soter, and other local leaders and private stakeholders to announce a $1.8 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to Bellingham. The project will improve traffic flow in Bellingham Center and facilitate planned housing and commercial development in the area.
The MassWorks project will revamp the intersection at Routes 140 and 126, improving traffic flow and providing access to a new 350,000 square-foot commercial warehouse and distribution facility. The intersection improvements will also support the redevelopment of a nearby 150-acre gravel pit for a mix of commercial and residential uses, including 152 units of market rate, single-family and multi-family housing.
“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.”
“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. “By making Bellingham Center safer and more functional, the improvements supported by today’s MassWorks grant will lead to new housing and new jobs for residents.”
“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. “We are proud of the improvements to public safety, thousands of new jobs and housing units, and millions of square feet of new commercial space that the MassWorks program has delivered for residents, and we look forward to continuing to leverage every tool at our disposal to ensure all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts continue to thrive.”
The MassWorks improvements will also enhance pedestrian and bicycle connections to transit, including the nearby Forge Park Commuter Rail Station. The project leverages $580,000 in local and private funds, and will benefit a planned 250-unit, 40B housing development adjacent to the mixed-use site.
“On behalf of the Town of Bellingham I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration for their support of the MassWorks Infrastructure program,” said Selectmen Chairman Daniel Spencer. “The $1.8 million grant will provide funding to reconstruct the Town Center, alleviating congestion while improving accessibility to Route 495 and the Forge Park commuter rail station. I also want to thank Lincoln Properties for their substantial financial contribution to this project. The MassWorks award combined with public and private funding from Lincoln Properties will help to unlock both industrial and residential development, creating jobs and housing which will continue to make Bellingham a desirable community to live and do business in.”
“I am pleased to have advocated for the town of Bellingham to receive the MassWorks Infrastructure Program Grant,” said Senator Ryan C. Fattman. “This $1.8 million grant will allow for significant economic opportunities for the town, including the use of a 350,000 sq. ft. warehouse facility. In addition to the business development opportunities, this grant will help to create affordable housing solutions to help address the housing crisis we are facing. This is particularly exciting because of the proximity to the Forge Park Commuter Rail Station. I am looking forward to seeing the transformation of this area of Bellingham because of this grant.”
“When I was a Selectman, my number one objective was to stop talking about overhauling the intersection and execute the plan,” said Representative Michael J. Soter. “As State Representative, I eagerly advocated for and secured over $1.8 Million to bring this plan to fruition. It has been a pleasure working with the Baker/Polito administration to bring this much-needed funding into the 8th Worcester District.”
“Lincoln Property Company was happy to participate in the review by the state for this MassWorks award. The Town of Bellingham has been a supportive partner for our development and the state’s infrastructure investment is critical component for our distribution facility on Mechanic Street,” said John Cappellano, Senior Vice President of Development and Construction at Lincoln Property Company.
“At Campanelli, we have seen the benefits to State and local communities that directly result from the MassWorks Program. Recently the communities of Bellingham, Uxbridge, and Ashland received Mass Works Grants that were key drivers for Campanelli’s interest in those towns. In Bellingham, Campanelli developed its 13th business park in the Commonwealth, which was permitted for 427,000 square feet, and is now fully built out and tenanted in conjunction with MassWorks support,” said Rob DeMarco, partner at Campanelli.
“We are really excited to be part of a forward thinking community that invited us in to be part of such a great residential and commercial property that was being underutilized,” said Kevin Lobisser, owner of Lobisser Building Corporation. “We’re looking forward to adding a fantastic residential component to this project that everyone in the community can be proud can be proud of in the community.”
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.
MassWorks provides grants to communities to help them prepare for success and contribute to the long term strength and sustainability of our Commonwealth. The MassWorks infrastructure program is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. www.mass.gov/orgs/massworks
Development Services Ellison Patten