City of Lowell Receives $1.72 million in MassWorks Funding
On Monday, October 25, 2021, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy visited Lowell to announce $66.5 million in grant awards through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program. The City of Lowell was among 50 communities across Massachusetts to be awarded funding through the program, receiving a $1.72 million grant to support infrastructure improvements near the anticipated Acre Crossing development.
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is a competitive grant program offered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The program provides capital funds to municipalities and other public entities to complete infrastructure projects that are necessary to enable housing production and private development.
Acre Crossing is a mixed-use development proposed by Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union and Soucy Industries. The development, located in the heart of the Acre between Merrimack Street and Market Street, will consist of 32 affordable condo units for first time homebuyers and street-level retail space. The site of the development is currently comprised of two vacant, surplus buildings and paved parking areas.
The $1.72 million in MassWorks funding will support the following public works infrastructure:
- Updating of existing traffic signals at the Cabot and Merrimack Streets intersection abutting the development
- Reconstruction of sidewalks and curbing, including handicap access betterments
- Street lighting to enhance public safety
- Street landscaping with stormwater recharge features
- Traffic control and pedestrian safety during construction – Fencing, Barriers and Police Details
- Designing, surveying, civil engineering, structural analysis, environmental assessments for public improvements
- Administrative tasks including cost estimating, bidding, and project supervision
- Grant administration and Project Management/Consulting
The Acre Crossing project is a significant opportunity to enhance the Merrimack and Market Streets corridor. The project will increase economic activity, create construction and permanent jobs, provide working families a pathway to equity through affordable home ownership, and add access to goods and services in the neighborhood, all by investing in a vacant, underutilized site.
During the announcement, City Manager Eileen Donoghue said of Acre Crossing, “this project is a textbook example of the kind of transformative development that the MassWorks program can support.”
“Once completed, this project will revitalize an underutilized space, create permanent jobs, provide pathways to homeownership for working families, and set a new standard for development in this neighborhood,” said Donoghue. “We are confident that the Acre Crossing project will mark a continuation of the high-quality development that has been supported in Lowell through MassWorks.”
In addition to the MassWorks grant, the City of Lowell received two other grant awards totaling $300,000 through the Commonwealth’s new Community One Stop for Growth program.
Launched by EOHED in January, the program is intended to streamline the process of applying for funding to support development projects. Through the consolidation of the application process, projects can now be considered for multiple grant programs simultaneously, a key benefit of the new initiative.
Community Planning Grant ($75,000)
The City of Lowell received a Community Planning Grant to hire a consultant to assist in assessing and drafting revisions to the City’s zoning code to create a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) overlay district around the Gallagher Terminal. A 2020 study completed by Stantec for the City found that zoning within a half-mile of the Gallagher Terminal impeded high-quality transit oriented development due to high parking requirements and insufficient allowed density. The process enabled through this planning grant will seek to remediate these identified challenges in the zoning code.
Housing Choice Community Grant Program ($225,000)
The City of Lowell received a Housing Choice Community Grant which will support the City’s effort to update its Master Plan. The most recent Master Plan was developed in 2012 and requires an update to address current relevant objectives, vision, and goals that tackles current global and local social, economic, and environmental challenges. The primary goal of the Master Plan will be to address the housing affordability issues in the City and how through new policies that are aligned with the sustainable growth of Lowell, this community can provide more housing options to currents and future residents