The Community One Stop for Growth grants for the Fiscal Year 2023 were recently announced. Our district has been awarded a whopping $8.25 million. The Community One Stop grant process provides a streamlined system for communities across the Commonwealth to access state support. This year, twelve grant programs have been funded through the Community One Stop process. Our district has benefited from nine of these grant programs.
MassWorks Infrastructure Grant
The MassWorks Infrastructure Grant helps drive municipal capital projects. These projects provide the foundation for economic growth and development. Our Senate district will be bringing home awards to six communities, totaling $5,480,000 in vital infrastructure improvements.
In Amherst, $755,000 will go to the Belchertown Road Sidewalk Improvement Project. In Ashburnham, $1,000,000 will complete Downtown Main Street Roadway Improvements. In Colrain, $1,000,000 will go to the Rehabilitation of Greenfield Road. In Leyden, $225,000 was awarded to the 10 Mile Bridge Project. In Warwick, $1,000,000 will complete Guardrail and Road Safety Improvements. And in Hatfield, $1,500,000 will complete an extensive water/sewer expansion.
Housing Choice Initiative Awards
Housing Choice Initiative Awards go to municipalities that have produced a significant number of new housing units in the last five years and have adopted best practices related to housing production. This year, our district has received two of these grants totalling $500,000.
The Housing Choice Initiative awarded Amherst and Northampton a $250,000 grant each. Thanks to these grants, both of these municipalities will be able to begin new infrastructure improvement projects. Amherst will build a new walkway along the east side of the Town Common and Northampton will make site and infrastructure improvements to support affordable housing.
Rural and Small Town Development Fund
The Rural and Small Town Development Fund provides grants to improve infrastructure and fund community planning needs for towns with populations less than 7,000 or with a population density of fewer than 500 people per square mile. This year, our district has been awarded $708,950 across five municipalities.
Erving received $330,000 which will be used to complete culvert projects and improve drainage. Montague received $150,000 to complete a comprehensive feasibility study for a potential biosolid composting facility which could enhance wastewater treatment system sustainability. Leverett was granted $130,000 to produce an engineering report to find long-term solutions for Dudleyville Road, which is currently gravel and is subject to regular closures causing problems for school bus access and through traffic to the Leverett Village Coop. Whately has received $58,950 for the creation of plans to complete the water main loop under Old Egypt Road. And finally, Royalston has been granted $40,000 to conduct a marketing feasibility study of the historic Whitney Hall and create a list of recommendations for future use of the building.
Underutilized Properties Program
The Underutilized Properties Program provides grants to many types of recipients including municipalities, non-profit organizations, and for-profit organizations. The goal of the program is to rehabilitate and improve underutilized and underserved properties to increase housing opportunities and support economic development projects. This year, our district received two of these grants, totalling $925,000.
One of the grants, totaling $830,000, went to Valley CDC in Northampton and will be used for the redevelopment of a vacant, former nursing home into an estimated 60 new affordable apartments. The other, totaling $95,000, went to Nova Real Estate, LLC in Montague to create a co-working area.
Community Planning Grant
For the past few years, the Community Planning Grant program has provided communities with funds for technical assistance relating to community planning in the Commonwealth. This year, our district received $324,000 from the Community Planning Grant Program.
Amherst received $75,000 for developing streetscape standards for downtown Amherst. Ashburnham also received $75,000 which will be used to create a Downtown Improvement Master Plan. Leverett was awarded $75,000 which will be used to develop a comprehensive plan. Whately was granted $59,000 to inventory underused commercial land parcels. Finally, Athol was awarded $40,000 to develop a plan to better understand community housing needs.
Urban Agenda Grant Program
The Urban Agenda Grant Program is focused on supporting economic vitality and strengthening urban areas across the Commonwealth. This year, the Greenfield community has been awarded two grants from the Program totalling nearly $200,000. The first of the grants was $100,000 for the City of Greenfield which will be used to fund a free workforce training program in culinary skills development, hands-on training, work experience, and job referrals for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. The second grant was $98,648 for Greenfield Community College to be used for supporting collaborative workspace membership and providing technical training and mentorship for individuals in underrepresented communities.
The Commonwealth Places Program granted the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce $5,000 to increase social cohesion through outdoor community spaces. It also granted the Forbes Library in Northampton $2,500 to formulate construction plans for outdoor community gathering spaces.
Collaborative Workspace Program
The Collaborative Workspace Program granted the Town of Athol $50,000 for improving kitchen facilities, and granted The Imaginary Bookshop in Greenfield $2,000 to improve their space.
Massachusetts Downtown Initiative
Massachusetts Downtown Initiative granted the Town of Ashburnham $25,000 to assist local small businesses to improve infrastructure. The program also granted the City of Greenfield $25,000 to help with the revitalization of the downtown area.