BOSTON, MA – Friday, May 15, 2009 – As part of Governor Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, the Patrick-Murray Administration today announced a $3 million Growth Districts Initiative (GDI) grant for improvements to public infrastructure in the renovation of the former courthouse on Main Street. The overall project will renovate and repurpose the entire building, readying it for occupancy by new public and private tenants.
“Growth Districts are hubs for planned areas of economic growth and housing development across the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “By identifying these districts and focusing our collective resources on making each one development ready now, we are creating the conditions for business growth and community vitalization for years to come.”
“This is a great example of the city and state working together to promote economic development,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. “The courthouse renovation is a great project with significant potential for the community.”
The Growth District grant will enable the redesign and reconstruction of the public outdoor plaza and indoor atrium, which currently have little to no public use. Over the next two years, the redesign will result in enhancing the appearance, safety and functionality for public use of the existing plaza, with changes such as removing the existing jersey barriers, improving the appearance, safety and use of the plaza, new landscaping, lighting and seating. MassDevelopment, a statewide finance and real estate development agency, will oversee the infrastructure work.
“Today’s announcement strengthens our tax base, will keep jobs and employees in downtown Springfield and bring renewed vibrancy to Main Street. The redevelopment and reuse of the federal building represents the rebirth
of a workplace that will now be a tremendous asset to the central business district. The $3 million grant for infrastructure improvement is another example of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray’s dedication and commitment to our community,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
The GDI creates the vehicle by which the Patrick-Murray Administration will partner with municipalities that have identified one or more areas for significant commercial, residential or mixed-use growth. Through the recent Commonwealth of Massachusetts transportation bond bill, a $50 million grant program was created to provide for commercial and residential transportation and infrastructure development, improvements and capital investment projects in identified Growth Districts. Today’s $3 million grant to Springfield is the fourth such grant award made since the funding was made available.
“I'd like to thank Governor Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Murray and Secretary Bialecki for their ongoing commitment to the city of Springfield,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Today’s announcement is another piece of the puzzle in helping to rejuvenate our downtown corridor.”
“As tenants in the building adjacent to the former courthouse, we are please to know that the building will be utilized to promote economic development for the downtown Springfield area,” said Senator Stephen J. Buoniconti “This investment is key to unlocking long term job and economic development opportunities for the City of Springfield,” said Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera. “I look forward to continuing to work with the city, the state, my fellow legislators, and all of our partners in making this project a reality.”
By identifying designated Growth Districts, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) will focus resources to ensure that each district is truly “development ready.” The initiative offers a focused approach to work with each community ensuring that all required permits are secured, site preparation is completed, infrastructure improvements are identified and marketing resources are made available. Each district will be put on a fast track for groundbreaking.
"Keeping the lights on in this building is key to realizing Springfield's redevelopment goals for Main Street," said Robert L. Culver, MassDevelopment president/CEO. “MassDevelopment looks forward to continuing its work
with the Administration, Legislature and Springfield officials to restore the City's economic base."
“We care deeply about the city of Springfield and our commitment as a tenant in the Federal Building is linked to our charitable mission – focused on improving the health of the people in our communities - and this includes the economic health of our communities,” said Mark R. Tolosky, President and CEO of Baystate Health.
Investments in public infrastructure are critical components of the Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:
- Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
- Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
- Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is one of eight Secretariats that make up the Governor’s Cabinet. Under the leadership of Secretary Gregory Bialecki, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development oversees the following undersecretariats: the Departments of Business Development, Housing and Community Development, and Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.