Baker-Polito Administration Announces Over $66 Million in MassWorks Funding

Administration Highlights First-Year Success of One Stop for Growth Program

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy were joined by state and local officials from Lowell to announce $66.5 million in 2021 MassWorks awards to 50 communities. The Administration also kicked off the first series of grant awards made through the Community One Stop for Growth program, which total a combined $88 million for projects in 122 communities across the Commonwealth, including MassWorks awards.  First launched in January 2021, the Community One Stop for Growth 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. The Administration also announced $1 million for 16 communities through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Planning Grant Program, one of the many programs available through One Stop.

In One Stop’s inaugural round, 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.

“MassWorks and the programs accessed through One Stop support local infrastructure projects that spur housing, workforce development and private investment,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “We appreciate the partnership with the Legislature and local leaders to make these investments possible and look forward to our continued collaboration.”

“One Stop has transformed the Commonwealth’s role from simply a patchwork of funding sources into a true partnership that puts the economic and community development goals for more cities and towns within reach,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.  “By enhancing access to key programs like MassWorks, One Stop allows us to bring a heightened sense of urgency to our efforts to rebuild the economy.”

“In addition to a single application portal, the One Stop’s collaborative review process involves multiple agencies and direct referrals to programs across a number of agencies, all in an effort to get more communities closer to their economic development goals, faster,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.  “As well, cities and towns can now submit Expressions of Interest, which opens up a dialog allowing communities to work with members of our team to refine and improve upon their ideas.”

“Locally driven planning efforts are critical for communities to take charge of their growth and meet the needs of diverse cities and towns,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox. “We are thrilled to be part of the One-Stop program, which better coordinates our expansive programming to support community development, affordable and market-rate housing development, and resilient neighborhoods.”

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. 

At today’s event, Administration officials announced that Lowell, which applied for several grants through One Stop, is receiving a $1.72 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to support the design and construction of sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping that will improve vehicular and pedestrian travel in the area adjacent to a private development known as Acre Crossing.

Lowell’s MassWorks award will support Acre Crossing, which is a mixed-use development, consisting of over 34,000 square feet of office and retail space, and parking.  The project also includes 32 condominiums for sale to first-time homebuyers with household incomes ranging from 70 to 100 percent of the Area Median Income.  The project is a result of a $27 million private investment, supporting approximately 200 jobs throughout construction, and 40 full-time jobs once fully built out.

“The Merrimack Street corridor between City Hall and University Crossing is the major link connecting the UMass campus to the Lowell Central Business District. As such, it presents many opportunities for economic development and rejuvenation such as the Acre Crossing Project,” said State Senator Ed Kennedy. “The Governor’s announcement of the Mass Grants award today will help provide a big step in that direction.”

“The MassWorks grant for the Acre Crossing development and the Community Planning grant to support Lowell’s new TOD Overlay District are both vital to the expansion of affordable housing and job creation in Lowell,” said State Rep. Rady Mom.  “I would like to thank Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for their continued efforts to improve our city and the Commonwealth.”

“The City of Lowell is thrilled to receive a $1,720,000 MassWorks Infrastructure Program Grant for Acre Crossing,” said State Representative Thomas A. Golden, Jr.  “This generous funding will allow us to make the area around the new development easier to navigate for both pedestrians and vehicles and will also help us to make the area safer and more beautiful with the addition of lighting, landscaping and a small park.  The city of Lowell is also grateful to receive a $75,000 Community Planning Grant, which will allow the city to increase opportunities for new housing near the Gallagher Terminal.”

“Thank you, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, for your invaluable assistance in securing these vital funds to support the continued economic development for the City of Lowell and throughout our Commonwealth,” said State Rep. Vanna Howard. “The MassWorks Infrastructure funding will help support our commitment to job creation, which will benefit the entire community for years to come. I am proud to support this economic development bill for the future good of our Commonwealth.”

“The investments that the Baker-Polito Administration continues to make through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program enabled cities and town across the Commonwealth to overcome financial hurdles standing in the way of development,” said City Manager Eileen Donoghue. “We are confident that the Acre Crossing project will mark a continuation of the high-quality development that has been supported in Lowell through MassWorks.”

“Acre Crossing represents a transformative project that will expand Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s presence in The Acre, create new jobs, provide adequate parking, and offer homeownership to those that may not otherwise be able to fulfill that dream,” said Mark S. Cochran, President and Chief Executive Officer at Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union.  “We are honored to be chosen as a recipient of the MassWorks Grant to help support our efforts.”

The full list of this year’s MassWorks grant recipients can be found here.

In addition to MassWorks funding, today the City of Lowell was also awarded two additional grants through the One Stop process.

As a designated Housing Choice community, Lowell was awarded a $250,000 grant to update its 2012 Master Plan to address housing affordability issues in the City and assess how new policies can be aligned with the sustainable growth of the City.

In addition to receiving MassWorks and Housing Choice awards, Lowell was one of 16 communities that were awarded a combined total of $1 million through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Community Planning Grant Program.  This program, also new this year, is one of the multiple programs in One Stop and provides technical assistance for activities related to land use, including: assisting communities in the development of a Master Plan, Housing Production Plan, Zoning Review and Updates, Urban Renewal Plan, Land Use Plan, Downtown Plan, Parking Management Plan, Feasibility Study, or Other Strategic Plan

Lowell’s $75,000 grant through the Community Planning Grant Program will assist in the creation of a new transit-oriented development district for the area surrounding the Gallagher Terminal which serves as Lowell’s central transportation hub with connections to MBTA commuter rail service to and from Boston, and bus service through 19 local and regional bus routes. The City’s goal is to further the recommendations of the Lowell Gallagher Terminal TOD Study by modifying the zoning code to increase opportunities for new housing near the Gallagher Terminal.

The full list of Community Planning Grant Program awards can be viewed here.