Baker-Polito Administration Awards $1.8 Million for Site Development Readiness
City of Pittsfield receives one of 14 awards aim to increase shovel-ready sites for local development goals throughout the Commonwealth
This week, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $1.8 million for the inaugural round of the Site Readiness Fund Program, of which the City of Pittsfield was one of 14 recipients to receive funding. The city received a $75,000 award toward a subsurface environmental assessment of the 40s site within the William Stanley Business Park.
This grant will help the City of Pittsfield and the Pittsfield Economic Development Agency gain a better understanding of on-site conditions through a subsurface investigation and engineering review at this seven-acre site within the William Stanley Business Park.
The program, enacted within the administration’s 2016 Economic Development Bill, authorizes $15 million to provide vital resources to municipalities, developers, and community development corporations to increase the inventory of development-ready sites across the Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth continues to be a competitive place to do business, and this program supports local goals that drive growth and job creation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased this funding will increase the resources available for municipalities and their partners to attract investment and job growth in communities across Massachusetts.”
“These grants will provide Massachusetts’ cities and towns the resources and tools to move their economic development goals forward,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are pleased to make these inaugural awards to support local efforts to increase housing, eliminate blight, revitalize urban settings and create jobs.”
“Putting what resources we can into converting project-ready sites for new and existing Massachusetts companies makes great sense,” saidSenate President Stan Rosenberg. “Our economy, and our people, are depending on it.”
Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer said the grant award will serve the city well toward the work of economic development.
“The City of Pittsfield is thrilled to receive this grant that will help to advance economic development pursuits at the William Stanley Business Park. Economic development is at the forefront of the city’s priorities and collaborations such as that between the city and PEDA are critical to this work,” said Mayor Tyer.
PEDA Chairman Mick Callahan noted the meaningful partnership with PEDA and the city. “This is an extension of the goodwill relationship with the city, which led the application process, as we work with the Commonwealth toward these initiatives in Pittsfield,” Callahan said.
The Site Readiness Fund Program aims to boost the Commonwealth’s inventory of large, well-located, project-ready sites; accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects; and support conversion of abandoned sites and obsolete facilities into clean, actively-used, tax-generating properties. MassDevelopment administers the program on behalf of the Commonwealth, and 14 grants were issued in this first year to 11 communities across the state and one entity representing Metro Boston.
“The Site Readiness Fund Program jump-starts economic development by triggering the first step in the process,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash. “Having sites ready for development when businesses, restaurants and retailers come calling is essential to job creation and the revitalization of communities.”
The city and PEDA applied for the competitive grant earlier this year. PEDA Executive Director Corydon Thurston said the grant’s specifications were a perfect fit.
“We put our heads together when we were made aware of this grant opportunity because it was so specific to us. It fit us nicely because we have this manufacturing property for potential prospects,” he said.
Thurston said the grant will support assessment work that’s set to begin in early July. “This funding will allow us to dig deeper in engineering data and inspect the capabilities of the slab to hold certain structures and identify the costs involved for vertical structures,” Thurston said. “We know that the slab was large and that it held up a five-story building that was demolished; but the slab was designed for that, and so this assessment will allow us to focus more detail on engineering data.”
Thurston said a consultant from MassDevelopment will be visiting the land parcel to analyze the ground below surface and will also do additional core sampling.
“The Site Readiness Fund will allow the Commonwealth to support economic-development projects with strategic consulting and technical assistance,” said MassDevelopment Executive Vice President for Real Estate Richard Henderson. “Thanks to the Baker-Polito Administration and the Legislature for creating this transformative tool that will promote business growth and job creation at underused sites.”
In addition to Pittsfield, Site Readiness Program Grant awards were presented to Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Holyoke, Leominster, New Bedford, North Adams, Orange, Westfield, and Westminster.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2016, MassDevelopment financed or managed 352 projects generating investment of more than $4 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 8,200 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 4,200 residential units.