State-Aided Projects Win Praise
June 25, 2010 : The Republican, by Peter Goonan
SPRINGFIELD – A top state official took a daylong tour of Springfield on Thursday, praising several development projects and announcing state funding and collaborations aimed at promoting economic development, jobs, education and services for the homeless.
Gregory P. Bialecki, state secretary of housing and economic development, said the projects in Springfield, ranging from expansion of the Square One Children’s Center on King Street to a $4 million renovation-upgrade of the Titeflex Corp. in East Springfield reflect the state’s commitment and partnership with Springfield.
“We see a lot of good things happening in Springfield,” Bialecki said. “It is really an indication around the state of how we are seeing the economy turn. We see a lot of good signs of not only an economic return in the short run but really the fundamental building blocks of a strong future for the city of Springfield.”
Bialecki, joined by Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and other local officials and business representatives, made five stops across the city, saying the projects when combined, use $12.7 million in state and federal assistance, leverage $19.2 million in new private investment and create more than 200 construction jobs.
The tour included the following stops:
Square One, 255 King St., where Bialecki and Robert L. Culver, president of the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment) announced a $1.3 million low-interest loan from MassDevelopment to assist a nearly $2 million renovation project that will create 10 additional classrooms, a new entranceway and additional parking. The early childhood center will increase staff and be able to serve 67 more children for a total of 187 children, which ties in with the state’s pledge to bolster early education efforts to promote future success.
Boulevard Machine and Gear, 785 Page Blvd., to announce a $15,000 state grant for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, to support education and specialized training in precision manufacturing for local companies. Four area companies, including Boulevard Machine and Gear, signed a memorandum of understanding to form a manufacturing industry collaborative, the first of its kind in the state. Bialecki said growth in manufacturing is critical to Massachusetts.
Titeflex Corp., 603 Hendee St., to view the start of a $4 million renovation and equipment upgrade project that was assisted by city and state tax incentives. The tax incentives were described as critical for keeping the company and its 100 employees in East Springfield, ending fears it would relocate to South Carolina.
Friends of the Homeless, Worthington Street, to tour the ongoing construction and renovation of a $12.5 million homeless resource center, a project that was aided by local, state and federal funds and private contributions. The new resource center and the upcoming renovation of the existing adjacent building tie in with the city’s and state’s effort to create more permanent, comprehensive solutions to homelessness, Bialecki and Sarno said.
The former Asylum building, 1592 Main St., where Bialecki announced a $400,000 state growth district grant to assist with asbestos removal and partial demolition of the site. The front portion of the building will be renovated and used by the Springfield Parking Authority, while the rear two-thirds of the building will be razed to create a parking area and space for a public market.
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