Baker-Polito Administration Announces $2.24 Million MassWorks Infrastructure Grant in Rockland

Grant to fund water capacity upgrades to support 12 proposed developments in Rockland and Abington. Administration also announces nearly $1.2 million in awards from Brownfields Redevelopment Fund.

November 9, 2021

ROCKLAND – Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – Today, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera were joined by state and local officials from Rockland to announce a $2.24 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to the Abington-Rockland Joint Water Works for improvements to the Myers Avenue Water Treatment Plant.  Also today, the Baker-Polito Administration and MassDevelopment announced the latest round of the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, which along with MassWorks is now part of the Community One Stop for Growth.

The MassWorks grant will fund construction of a new clearwell storage tank and pumping equipment for the Abington-Rockland Joint Water Works, which will allow for the activation of an additional drinking water well.  The current system operates at full capacity, which has constrained Abington and Rockland’s efforts to build more housing and support business development.  With these upgrades, the Abington-Rockland Joint Water Works will be able to increase its production of water by approximately 160,000 gallons per day, which is enough water to support 12 proposed private developments consisting of workforce and multi-family housing, low-income senior housing, and a range of retail, commercial, and mixed-use developments in both towns.
The award is part of this year’s round of MassWorks Infrastructure Program Grants announced recently and is one of 56 grants – the largest number of awards in a single year in six years – totaling $66.5 million to 50 communities.
“This MassWorks award will create much needed housing in the community and an increase in both jobs and economic activity,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Congratulations to Abington-Rockland Joint Water Works for receiving this award and their collaborative efforts to play a role in addressing our housing crisis.”
“This MassWorks award will unlock the potential for new, needed housing and commercial projects in both Abington and Rockland,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.  “Thanks to our new, simplified process established through the One Stop, we can strengthen our support for communities and position them to succeed on their plans for future growth.”
In addition to Rockland's MassWorks grant, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $1.2 million from the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund to support the environmental assessment and cleanup of eight underutilized or abandoned sites across the Commonwealth.  Once complete, the eight projects are expected to redevelop a combined total of 25.6 acres and to adaptively re-use or demolish more than 215,000 square feet of currently blighted buildings.  Rockland, which is included among this round of awards, is receiving $195,000 to assess and remediate the .75-acre former Estes Auto Supply Brownfields Project site at 225 West Water St. before transferring the site to a developer to build up to eight units of housing. 

MassDevelopment oversees the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, which helps transform vacant, abandoned, or underused industrial or commercial properties by financing the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in “Economically Distressed Areas” of the Commonwealth. From the Fund’s inception in 1998 through FY21, it has supported 765 awards for a total investment of more than $112 million.
“MassDevelopment is proud to administer the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund on behalf of the Commonwealth, which provides funding to unlock environmentally challenging parcels with unrealized economic potential,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “Today’s awards will provide nearly $1.2 million to assess and remediate eight sites, advancing their re-use in ways that will create jobs, add housing, and support state and local economic development goals.”

The Brownfields Redevelopment Fund’s annual competitive round allows municipalities and their agencies or authorities to apply for up to $100,000 for site assessment funding or up to $250,000 in site assessment and remediation funding.  In addition to the annual competitive round, the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund also makes awards on a rolling basis. The Fund is now part of the Commonwealth’s Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for community and economic development grant programs that make targeted investments based on a Development Continuum.
“We created the One Stop to offer access to a wide variety of programs through a single, streamlined process that ensures that valuable funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.  “The One Stop gives communities the opportunity to work collaboratively with us, to pursue multiple projects simultaneously and to meet their economic development goals.  Through these awards, both Abington and Rockland have demonstrated how communities can be creative with grant funding to maximize the impact of their investments in public infrastructure.  While the first year of the One Stop has shown tremendous promise, the demand for our programs demonstrates that we can do more.”
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.

"The Abington-Rockland Joint Water Works' Myers Avenue Water Treatment Plant Capacity Upgrade will increase Rockland and Abington's potable water supply enabling key development projects to move forward supporting critical economic development in the region," said Michael O'Loughlin, Chairman, Rockland Board of Selectmen.  "The Estes Brownfields grant will allow for the remediation of remaining, residually contaminated soil and assessment of the underground water table ensuring safe and healthy conditions on and around the Estes site. Completion of this work will move the site to a Permanent Solution clearing the path for the creation of additional housing units.  In addition, both projects will create substantial job opportunities and support revitalization by activating the currently vacant Estes lot while also unlocking development potential Rockland's downtown Smart Growth District.”
“We aren’t just celebrating the presentation of nearly $2.5 million in funding today. We are celebrating the commitment of so many to providing plentiful and safe drinking water in Abington and Rockland, and to finishing the cleanup of contaminated land,” said Senator John Keenan. “These MassWorks and Brownfields projects show that good environmental policy has a positive impact on the health and well-being of residents and will open the door to investments in their local economies."
“We are happy to have partnered with the Administration in securing these much needed funds, which will help projects in Rockland such as the Holy Family senior housing project, and other potential friendly development,” said Representative David F. DeCoste.
FY22 Brownfields Redevelopment Fund Awarded Projects:

Town of Belchertown - $250,000

The Town of Belchertown will use this award to remediate and remove a structure from the one-acre site of the former Belchertown State School power plant on Carriage Drive, part of efforts to redevelop the campus into the Carriage Grove neighborhood. The site can support mixed-use development as either a development pad or with parking and community features.

Town of Clinton - $116,000

The Town of Clinton will use this award to remediate a contaminated .12-acre site at 329 High St. near downtown Clinton and pave the way for a small business to locate there.

City of Fitchburg - $65,000

The City of Fitchburg will use this award to assess 173 Bemis Rd., a .25-acre site on a key commercial corridor, which could support a small business, such as a nearby contractor’s yard, or create space for traffic improvements in support of a potential Amazon distribution facility.

Town of Norton - $60,000

The Town of Norton will use this award to further assess the 20.72-acre former Reed & Barton site at 47 Elm St. and support its redevelopment into a mixed-use site with retail, office, residential, and recreation space.

Town of Rockland - $195,000

The Town of Rockland will use this award to assess and remediate the .75-acre former Estes Auto Supply Brownfields Project site at 225 W. Water St. before transferring the site to a developer to build up to eight units of housing. 

Town of Somerset - $187,500

The Town of Somerset will use this award to remediate a .6-acre former gas and service station at 3280 County St., located near the Somerset Reservoir and residential neighborhood, to support commercial and residential uses at the site. 

Town of Ware - $74,000

The Town of Ware will use this award to assess and remediate the 1.26-acre vacant former Ware Manufactured Gas Plant on Monroe Street, which the town aims to repurpose into public parking or recreation uses at the nearby Memorial Field.

Town of Westford - $240,000

The Town of Westford will use this award to remediate the 1.5-acre former Westford Anodizing property at 12 N. Main St. to support up to 60 housing units and complementary commercial space at the site.