Baker Awards More Than $1M to Support 40 Housing Units, Private Development in Methuen

MassWorks Infrastructure Program funds supports short-term development with long-term goals for hundreds of local housing units

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined local officials and community leaders to award a $1,175,000 MassWorks Infrastructure Program award to Methuen for the Five Corners 40R Gateway Improvement Project, improving an intersection critical to the city’s recently approved 62-acre 40R Smart Growth Zoning Overlay District, identified to increase housing and private investment in the downtown area.

“Our administration is committed to programs like MassWorks that help cities and towns invest in public infrastructure and unlock opportunities for private investment, housing and new jobs,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to partner with Methuen to support their comprehensive, long-term planning process and the immediate construction of 40-units of new housing. We continue to work closely with all our local partners to advance important projects like this one that drive development and prosperity in our communities.

“MassWorks reflects our administration’s support for flexible funding that also leverages local and private resources to meet the economic development needs of Massachusetts’ cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are proud to have increased funding and secured reauthorization for this critical program that has supported thousands of new housing units, industrial expansion and new mixed-use development space across every region of the Commonwealth.”

The MassWorks Infrastructure Program makes grants to municipalities for public infrastructure projects that generate additional private sector investment. The project will reconstruct existing traffic signals, resurface pavement, enhance sidewalks and improve multi-modal transportation opportunities improve walk-ability downtown.

The project will further the city’s goals to increase housing and walk-ability downtown, identified earlier this year by a two-year planning process with considerable civic engagement. Infrastructure improvements to the area will support the construction of a new, 40-unit housing development, and create the necessary conditions for an additional 288 housing units across the 40R district. The project is consistent with MassDOT’s Complete Streets Initiative and was a priority for the Merrimack Valley Regional Planning Commission.

“The effectiveness of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and the reason that it has been successful at unlocking development is the program’s ability to support projects across a wide range of sizes and scope,”said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Each year we fund high-quality, shovel-ready projects, and this year is no exception. I congratulate the cities and towns for pursuing projects that strengthen communities and promote sustainable economic growth and development across the Commonwealth.”

The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support housing production, economic development, and job creation. Since 2015, and including this year’s awards, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded over $274 million to 134 projects in 106 communities throughout the Commonwealth, spurring the development of over 2 million square feet of commercial and retail space, over 7,000 immediate housing units, at least 7,000 square feet of new public space and 1,200 new hotel rooms and commercial/retail space.

“MassWorks funding provides our communities with flexibility to address critical projects that support local economic growth and job creation,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “We have prioritized engaging and supporting our cities and towns in our capital budget plan, and the MassWorks program is one of the best ways in which we can do this.”

“Thank you to the Baker administration and our state delegation for your continued support of our efforts in the City of Methuen,” said Mayor Stephen N. Zanni. “This MassWorks grant will provide a vital infrastructure investment and create a gateway to our new 40R smart growth zone.  Downtown Methuen has much to be excited about in coming years as we move to adopt the 40R zone, construct our new Rail Trail with Gateway City Parks Funding, support new investment in long shuttered buildings and create a vibrant area for all of Methuen to enjoy.”

“This grant from the Commonwealth is a key piece of the many collaborations with the Baker-Polito administration that are ongoing to revitalize Methuen’s downtown,” said Representative Linda Dean Campbell. “We are very excited about this partnership on projects affecting the downdown such as the Rail Trail, rezoning, and planning support that will make this long awaited revitalization a reality. Lt Governor Politio’s work to foster collaboration with cities and towns is supporting community throughout the Commonwealth.  We are so thankful for her presence here today!”

“Through improved vehicular and pedestrian safety, this critical MassWorks funding will support efforts to make downtown Methuen an even more attractive place for people to reside, businesses to flourish and visitors to stop by and see that all this great City has to offer,” said Representative Diana DiZoglio.

“Enhancing pedestrian and vehicular safety is always a priority when it comes to projects involving our community’s busy roads. I’m glad that Methuen is seeing further State investment in the form of a Mass Works grant to achieve this goal, and to support local housing development as well,” said Representative Frank Moran.

In August 2016, Governor Baker signed An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development (H.4569) to reauthorize MassWorks and support $500 million of future investment in critical infrastructure, a significant commitment by the Commonwealth.