HANSON — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, June 27 heard a presentation from MassWorks Infrastructure Program Director Erica Kreuter on the program and how it can help provide funding for town projects.
“MassWorks oversees five different grant programs,” said Town Administrator Michael McCue. He has experience with the offices’ Small Town Rural Assistance Program (STRAP) grants from his tenure in Avon.
“It was a godsend,” McCue said of the $500,000 grant Avon received.
Kreuter summarized the program and answered Selectmen’s questions. Grants under the MassWorks umbrella also include those for public works development, Community Development Action Grants, the Growth Districts Initiative, Mass. Opportunity Relocation and Expansion and Transit-Oriented Development programs.
“We are always available to discuss any applications,” she said. “We really saw an opportunity to create one program designed to work on infrastructure and designed to unlock immediate private investment.”
That investment has to be kept in line with the state’s sustainable development principles such as multi-family housing, economic development in distressed areas and roadway safety in small, rural communities.
Among the projects MassWorks has worked on include the $2 million T Wharf project in Plymouth, the $25 million Assembly Square T Station in Somerville and the Market Street extension of Mashpee Commons at $901,250.
Selectmen Chairman James McGahan asked about the type of job creation involved in the program.
Roadway projects, such as drainage work, in conjunction with a water and sewer project was one example Kreuter provided.
Transit and re-use of previously developed sites and regional projects are among the office’s continuing investment goals. There have been 716 applications for $1.7 billion in total requests for projects since 2011. More than $418.3 million has been invested in 215 projects selected across the state.
“It is an extremely competitive grant program,” Kreuter said. “Anything over $2 million has to demonstrate significant private development.”
In other business, the board approved an Eagle Scout project for a 5K cross country course at WHRHS proposed by Caleb Parkinson, a member of Whitman Boy Scout Troop 22.
Parkinson, a member of the cross country team, needed Selectmen approval because the entire trail route is within the town of Hanson.
Work will involve filling in a trench dug by a teacher for a previous project and a bridge over conservation land. He will also be meeting with the Hanson Conservation Commission on the project. Hanson Boy Scouts and some teachers have also indicated a willingness to help with the work.
“This is for the actual meets,” Parkinson said.
Selectmen expressed enthusiasm for the project in casting their votes in support.
Selectmen also approved the completed street prioritization list with the crossing in front of the Dunkin’ Donuts at Liberty Street and County Road, the crossing in front of Town Hall at Liberty and Winter streets, the intersection at the middle school on Liberty Street, the sidewalk on High Street from Main Street to the Plymouth County Hospital site, a bicycle lane on Route 58 and a similar project on Main Street.