By Carol Finegold
Wicked Local Amesbury
Gov. Deval Patrick today announced over $1.5 million in additional funding for Amesbury’s Lower Millyard project. The money comes from the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program.
“Growth requires investment, and investments like these to support housing and business development will help catalyze growth in Amesbury and beyond,” said Patrick. “If we want to expand opportunity in our commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well.”
This newest investment builds upon the partnership between the Patrick Administration and the city. In 2011, Amesbury received a $1.2 million grant through the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program, also to support the Lower Millyard project, a multi-year, multi-agency program to upgrade and improve Elm Street. The completed project will mitigate traffic and safety-related issues caused by the future construction and expansion of the site’s facilities.
This public infrastructure project is part of an overall effort to spur private investment and development in the Lower Millyard. The 1.6-acre project consists of three parcels of land located at 25, 27, and 31 Water St. in Amesbury’s Lower Millyard, which are adjacent to downtown. The city plans to develop the site into an urban, riverfront park known as Heritage Park. The development will include pedestrian bridge connections to the newly constructed Nicolas Costello Transportation Center and Senior Center, the downtown area, and the rail trail. The final project will also include approximately 289 new units of housing, 30,000 square feet of office space and a multi-story 10,500-square-foot commercial property.
The 2011 MassWorks grant also helped leverage $2.5 million the city previously spent on infrastructure improvements to support development of the site, including water line improvements, sewer upgrades and drainage work.
The city also committed $215,000 to fund design costs associated with the MassWorks project. In June 2013, the MassWorks grant was increased by $200,000 to cover remediation costs at the 25 Water St. parcel. The latest grant brings the total investment to more than $2.8 million over the last two years.
“We remain committed to working with local communities, like Amesbury, to help identify opportunities to maximize growth and spur regional development,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “I look forward to our ongoing partnership with city officials and private industry leaders to explore additional ways to promote continued growth throughout the community and region.”
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is the consolidation of six capital budget programs, giving communities a single entry point and one set of requirements for state public infrastructure grants. The consolidation has improved efficiencies and streamlined the process, increased access for municipalities of all sizes and enhanced state-regional-local partnerships around economic development and housing projects.
“I sincerely appreciate Gov. Patrick personally delivering the great news about the Lower Millyard economic development project today,” said Rep. Michael A. Costello. “His administration has been a strong partner for so many initiatives in my district. Mayor Thatcher W. Kezer has worked tirelessly on this centerpiece for economic investment in the city of Amesbury. I was happy to vote on the creation of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, and we’re seeing real and meaningful results for communities across the commonwealth.”
“Gov. Patrick and his administration have been invaluable partners in the Lower Millyard redevelopment effort,” said Mayor Thatcher Kezer III. “The commonwealth’s continued investment coupled with local funding has bolstered the city’s vision for dynamic growth and sustained economic redevelopment in the heart of downtown Amesbury.”