Reading secures $2.6M state MassWorks grant

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) joined with Town Manager Fidel Maltez, Select Board Chair Jackie McCarthy, and the Healey-Driscoll Administration to announce that the Town of Reading has been awarded a $2.6 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant for intersection, streetscape, and safety improvements along Haven Street and abutting roadways.

The funding was awarded through the Community One Stop for Growth program, with the Executive Office of Economic Development (EOED), the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities (EOHLC) and the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment) recognizing Reading’s application as a high-impact project worth supporting. This year’s grant recipients were officially announced by Governor Maura Healey, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao, and Housing Secretary Edward Augustus at an October 25 press conference at Suffolk Downs in Revere.

“We thank the Healey Administration and our state legislative delegation for this award, which assists our efforts to improve streetscapes and transportation in an area connecting the heart of Reading’s downtown to our MBTA Commuter Rail station,” said Select Board Chair McCarthy. “As costs increase and infrastructure needs grow, this funding will be critical to developing the future of our town.”

“The Town is incredibly excited by this MassWorks grant award. This grant will result in significant improvements to our downtown area, making it more walkable and welcoming to our residents and our businesses,” said Town Manager Maltez. “We thank the Commonwealth, our State Delegation, and the staff of the Community One Stop for Growth program who were instrumental in this award.”

“This is tremendous news for the Town of Reading and is a testament to the many hours of hard work invested by Town Manager Maltez, the Select Board, and other local officials to help move this project forward,” said Representative Jones. “This MassWorks funding will support many critical public safety improvements to help make Reading’s downtown area more accessible and a priority destination for both residents and visitors from out of town.”

“I’m delighted to see the Town of Reading secure this substantial MassWorks funding, thanks to the countless hours and hard work put forth by Town Manager Maltez and all the local officials involved in making this project a reality,” said Representative Haggerty. “The funding will help improve safety, accessibility, and boost economic development in the downtown area. Our residents, businesses, commuters, and visitors will surely benefit.”

“I’m thrilled that Reading will be receiving one of the largest MassWorks grants in the state to support enhancements to the downtown along Haven Street,” said Senator Lewis. “Promoting accessibility and safety has been a priority for us all, and I’m grateful to Town Manager Fidel Maltez, the Select Board, and everyone who has worked so hard on this project for securing this incredible investment and supporting the community.”

In recent years, Reading has committed significant resources to rehabilitate sewer, water, and drainage utilities along Haven Street to increase capacity and help pave the way for the development of higher density housing and mixed uses in the downtown area within walking distance of the Reading Commuter Rail Depot. These upgrades are in keeping with the town’s Housing Production Plan, which calls for additional housing production supported by substantial infrastructure improvements.

The new MassWorks grant will fund pedestrian safety features and intersection improvements adjacent to a new private, mixed-use development, and will support complementary features including an increased tree canopy.

The Town of Reading is partnering with several developers who are currently developing or redeveloping properties for residential and commercial mixed-uses within Reading’s Downtown Smart Growth District zoning overlay. Members of the local business community, the Select Board, the Chamber of Commerce, elected officials, community organizations, and other stakeholders are also working collaboratively to develop a cohesive and community led design process under a separate funding source.

Offered through the Massachusetts Executive Office of Economic Development, the Community One Stop for Growth program offers cities and towns access to 13 different state grant programs, including the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, through a streamlined application process. These programs provide funding to assist communities with costs associated with such things as building construction, planning and zoning, site preparation and infrastructure work.