Mayor Brian A. De Peña Welcomes State Funding For Economic And Community Development
LAWRENCE, MA-. On Thursday, December 2, Mayor Brian A. DePeña joined Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, MassDevelopment CEO Dan Rivera, the Lawrence State Delegation, and city officials to celebrate new funding awarded through Community One Stop for Growth. The awards would support economic and community development efforts in the City of Lawrence, including job and economic opportunities.
Lawrence CommunityWorks received two awards through the One-Stop, a $455,000 grant through the new Underutilized Properties Program, and a $100,000 Urban Agenda grant, while the City of Lawrence was awarded $750,000 from the Site Readiness Program.
“Our administration is grateful for the support that the city and our Lawrence CommunityWorks partners have received through the One-Stop for Growth Grant Program. The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted our businesses and community development, and this support will help us continue to advance these critical economic and community development projects, “said the Mayor.
“Through the One Stop for Growth, we are pleased to partner with both local organizations like Lawrence CommunityWorks and municipalities like the City of Lawrence to support a range of initiatives from concept to construction,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through these three awards, our Administration can continue to support locally driven plans that unlock new opportunities for economic and community development.”
“Congratulations to the City of Lawrence and Lawrence CommunityWorks for taking full advantage of the One Stop’s offerings and for receiving this series of awards,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Through investments like this, we can clear the path for more housing, new jobs, and a more vibrant community.”
The non-profit Lawrence CommunityWorks is redeveloping the 450,000 square foot Marriner Building at 602-610 Broadway into a mixed-use facility, and will use a $455,000 Underutilized Properties Program award to continue renovating the ground floor into commercial space. Making the ground-floor space tenant-ready will allow for potential additional revenue streams to support the ongoing project, which includes two distinct housing components. In July, the Department of Housing and Community Development made an affordable rental housing award to Trinity Financial in support of one of those housing developments, which will result in 87 total units of new housing. Previously, MassDevelopment also provided awards from the Commonwealth’s Brownfields Redevelopment Fund in FY18 ($88,770) and FY21 ($88,940) and Site Readiness Program in FY18 ($50,000), FY20 ($250,000), and FY21 ($135,000) to support redevelopment of the Marriner Building.
Lawrence CommunityWorks also received a $100,000 Urban Agenda grant to support the transformative development of the historic, 35,000 square foot single-story DyeWorks building and surrounding East Island neighborhood. Anchored by a LatinX-owned and -oriented healthy supermarket, the DyeWorks project will include pharmacy, nutrition, and behavioral health services offered by the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC), and incorporate financial capability and youth development services provided on-site by LCW’s experienced program staff. The Urban Agenda funds will be used to hire a Project Director, who will support capital campaign activities and consulting services, and move the project into the next stage of the redevelopment process.
The City of Lawrence will use a $750,000 Site Readiness Program grant for work at the Merrimac Paper Site at 7, 9, and 16 South Canal Street by leveraging $1,650,000 in additional funding to support building demolition. The redevelopment of the area has been a long-term goal for Lawrence and is targeted for light industrial uses.
In One Stop’s inaugural round, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development received 267 Expressions of Interest from 178 communities through the new, simplified process. For this year’s awards, 196 grant applications received a total of $88.7 million for projects in 122 communities. Of the 196 projects awarded, nearly one-third were located in a rural or small town, half were located in a Housing Choice Community; and one-third were located in a Gateway City.
“We created the One Stop to offer access to a wide variety of programs through a single, streamlined process that ensures that valuable funds can be directed more effectively, to more communities, in less time,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “The One Stop gives communities and other partners the opportunity to work collaboratively with us, to pursue multiple projects simultaneously and to meet their economic development goals. Both the City of Lawrence and Lawrence CommunityWorks have demonstrated how applicants can be creative with grant funding to maximize the impact of state investments in transformative projects. While the first year of the One Stop has shown tremendous promise, the demand for our programs demonstrates that we can do more.”
“My administration is grateful for the support the city and our partners at Lawrence CommunityWorks have received through the Community One Stop for Growth Program,” said Mayor Brian A. De Peña. “The Covid-19 Pandemic has negatively impacted the progress of small business growth and development activity in Lawrence. This support will help us continue to advance these important housing and economic development projects. We will like to extend our sincere appreciation to the Baker-Polito Administration, Secretary Kennealyy, Undersecretary Maddox, President and CEO at MassDevelopment Dan Rivera, and members of state delegation for their steadfast commitment to the future of the city of Lawrence.”
“I want to thank Secretary Kennealyy and the Baker-Polito Administration for continuing to invest in Lawrence’s revitalization,” said Senator Barry Finegold. “The pandemic has hit everyone hard, but it has disproportionately impacted communities of color. As we recover, it is imperative that we support redevelopment projects like the three crucial projects receiving funding today. These initiatives will rehabilitate abandoned and underutilized historic buildings in Lawrence in order to support affordable housing, commercial space, healthy food services, integrated healthcare services, and local neighborhood development. The three projects are a testament to strong public-private partnerships and the tireless work of local non-profits, and I look forward to seeing the proposals come to fruition.”
“This critical funding will greatly support our city’s long-term economic development initiatives, such as the redevelopment of the Merrimac Paper that will be used for industrial use, while also providing nonprofit organizations such as Lawrence CommunityWorks with the resources necessary to continue providing high-quality care to so many residents in need,” said Representative Frank A. Moran. “I would like to thank Secretary Kennealyy and the staff of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for all that they do to support Gateway Cities such as Lawrence.”
“It is inspiring to see the Commonwealth’s economic development agencies collaborate with the community in Lawrence in such a meaningful way,” said Representative Marcos A. Devers. “These projects will address critical needs in our city, and I look forward to seeing them completed.”
Launched by the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015, the Urban Agenda Grant Program promotes economic vitality in urban neighborhoods by fostering partnerships that capitalize on unique local assets and community-driven responses to specific challenges. Urban Agenda grants are competitive one-year awards that offer these partnerships flexible funding to implement programming and projects based on creative, collaborative work models to support economic progress in urban communities.
Administered by MassDevelopment, the Underutilized Properties Program was created through the economic development legislation, An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth, signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in January 2021. The program targets underutilized, abandoned, or vacant properties by supporting efforts that eliminate blight, increase housing production, support economic development projects, or increase the number of commercial buildings accessible to individuals with disabilities. The program is funding 20 projects in its first year, totaling $7,516,000 in awards.
Launched in January 2021, the Community One Stop for Growth is a single application portal of community development grant programs with a collaborative review process that makes targeted investments based on a development continuum. Today’s event was held at the Marriner Building in Lawrence, where Lawrence CommunityWorks will use awarded funding to renovate the ground floor of the former mill into commercial space.
The Site Readiness Program, also administered by MassDevelopment, aims to boost Massachusetts’ supply of large, well-located, project-ready sites; accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects; and support the conversion of abandoned sites and obsolete facilities into clean, actively used, tax-generating properties. Created as part of the 2016 economic development legislation, An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Development, the Site Readiness Program’s first four rounds provided nearly $10.5 million for 49 projects in almost every region of the Commonwealth, increasing the development potential of 3,804 acres across Massachusetts. This year’s economic development legislation provides $15 million in reauthorizations for the Site Readiness Program.