MassDevelopment

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito awards Site Readiness grants to Chicopee, Greenfield and Westfield

March 28, 2019 : The Republican, by Shannon Young


Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces Site Readiness Program grant recipients during a March 28, 2019 event at Westover Airport in Chi

CHICOPEE - Chicopee, Greenfield and Westfield are among the 10 municipalities and organizations across Massachusetts that are set to receive a total of $2.3 million from the latest round of Site Readiness Program grants, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced Thursday.

The lieutenant governor unveiled the Fiscal Year 2019 recipients of the grant program -- which was created in 2016 to boost the state’s inventory of large, well-located project-ready sites -- during an afternoon stop at Westover Airport.

Polito noted that Chicopee’s Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation has been awarded $850,000 in grant funding to acquire four parcels of land adjacent to the currently undeveloped Airpark South site for future development opportunities.

Greenfield, meanwhile, will receive $250,000 to design a 750-foot road that will provide access to an expansion area at the I-91 Industrial Park; and Westfield will get $150,000 to fund the preparation of a final Environmental Impact Report for an 85-acre city-owned industrial site, according to state officials.

Polito said the Site Readiness Program looks to enhance business development opportunities, create jobs and bring more tax dollars back into the local revenue stream.

She, for example, contended that the Chicopee grant will allow the city to use its expanded parcel near the airport to better attract a company that might need to combine distribution, cargo and road transportation all in one place.

“It has a ripple effect, and, I think, it’s a truly great program,” the lieutenant governor said.

Bob Ruzzo, senior executive vice president and deputy director of MassDevelopment, meanwhile, compared the Site Readiness Program to the Boston Red Sox, offering that the state -- like a baseball team -- is also looking toward the future.

“You have to have a constant pipeline of new talent, new sites and new opportunities coming everyday,” he said.

Mayor Richard Kos thanked lawmakers for the grant, which he said will allow Chicopee to grow its current 80-plus acre site to about 100 acres -- a size more attractive to large developers.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of this,” he said. “It makes a difference because the projects may not happen today, or even in the near future, but we’re happy to have those sites ready today.”

Chicopee mayoral candidate Joe Morrissette, added in a statement that development of the Chicopee River Business Park and surrounding sites “is essential to creating long term economic growth in our city and making us players in the 21st Century economy.”

Other Site Readiness Program grants included: $150,000 for the Good Samaritan Life Science Center in Brockton; $75,000 for the Route 138 corridor in Canton; $100,000 for sandpit site land acquisition in Fitchburg; $150,000 for the Riverfront Business Park in Freetown; $50,000 for upper Hilldale Avenue in Haverhill; $400,000 for 15 Broad St. in Hudson; and $180,000 for 117 Union St. in New Bedford.

The 2016 Economic Development bill created the program and authorized $15 million in grants for MassDevelopment to administer to municipalities and other organizations for land acquisition, feasibility studies and site improvements, among other things.

Polito noted that the Site Readiness Program’s first two grant rounds included $3.4 million for 26 projects across Massachusetts that furthered the development potential for nearly 2,000 acres.

The Baker-Polito administration announced it would make $2.5 million available for the third round of funding last fall.

In addition to announcing the grants in Chicopee, the lieutenant governor stopped in Easthampton Thursday for an event highlighting the administration’s housing choice legislation with Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and Rep. Daniel Carey.