Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray joined state and local officials Monday to announce a $1.5 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant to support the U.S. Army Natick Solider Systems Center and the town of Natick.
According to Murray's office, the MassWorks grant follows a $1 million capital expenditure from the administration for the town of Natick. The funding will create infrastructure improvements for Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC), and will also improve the traffic flow along one of Natick's major roads, Route 27, to allow the road to better accommodate current and future traffic volumes.
"Our administration continues to partner with cities and towns as we invest in local infrastructure, create jobs, and support economic growth," said Lt. Gov. Murray. "This funding, through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, is providing a critical resource for the Natick Soldier Systems Center and the town as we continue to promote and protect missions, jobs, and our national and economic security."
Murray's office said the MassWorks grant and capital improvement funding will help address critical infrastructure upgrades needed to support NSSC. The base employs more than 1,800 full- and part-time employees, and the upgrades are part of its master plan that includes the potential to create 500 more jobs.
At an April meeting between Lt. Gov. Murray and the Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force, which he leads, base leadership outlined opportunities to improve infrastructure outside the base's main gate. The Task Force has met multiple times with NSSC leadership to provide governmental expertise and technical assistance in identifying ways to strengthen energy efficiency, operations, utility costs, and infrastructure upgrades on and outside the base, according to Murray's office.
"Natick Soldier Systems Center has experienced significant growth over the years, and now some 1,800 civilians and military members work at our installation," said Dr. John P. Obusek, NSSC senior manager. "With that growth have come understandable increases in vehicular and pedestrian traffic along Kansas Street to and from our gates. This project will help to accommodate that."
The project will make improvements to Kansas Street and Route 27 (North Main Street), which will allow for long-term planning and expansion of the base, and will support upgrades to improve connections to nearby Route 9 and the MassPike.
The infrastructure improvements will also support the Paper Board Redevelopment Project, which is directly up the street from Natick's 40R Smart Growth District and will lead to the creation of 150 housing unites.
"The economic and regional impact of these improvements will be further enhanced by the planned reconstruction of Route 27/North Main Street and the highly anticipated rail trail development connecting the MBTA at Natick Center to NSSC, major local employers and affordable housing developments," said Natick Town Administrator Martha White.
The MassWorks Program is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and is a consolidation of six capital budget programs that were combined by the Patrick-Murray Administration in 2011 and codified by law as a single MassWorks Program in the Jobs Bill signed by the Governor in August 2012.
Through the MassWorks Program, the Patrick-Murray Administration partners with cities and towns to make targeted investments in infrastructure such as roadways, streetscapes, water, and sewer to facilitate and support new and sustained housing and economic growth throughout Massachusetts.
“U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center is a major employer in the region and plays a critical role not only in Natick, but in the overall economy of the Commonwealth and New England,” said state Representative David Linsky. “The research and work performed at Natick Soldier Systems Center help protect the men and women serving in the armed forces. These critical infrastructure improvements that are part of the Kansas Street Improvement Project will help address the needs of the town and Natick Soldier Systems Center well into the future.
The grants announced in November 2012 are the second round of funding under the consolidated MassWorks program. The Patrick-Murray Administration approved 26 grants totaling $38 million, after receiving 130 applications for more than $323 million in infrastructure improvement requests.
For more information, visit the MassWorks website.
Laura Franzini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.