LENOX, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick announced July 9 that the Executive Office of Transportation has awarded a Public Works Economic Development (PWED) grant worth $950,000 for the Lenox Village Downtown Revitalization Project. In this latest round of PWED funding, the Patrick Administration will direct a total of $8.6 million in infrastructure grants to projects in eight communities across the Commonwealth.

Governor Patrick“The PWED grant program provides our communities with infrastructure funding that spurs private investment and economic growth throughout our Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “This project in Lenox and others like it across the state demonstrate our commitment to regional equity, and promise to deliver long term economic benefits to cities and towns.”

This project will rehabilitate downtown Lenox infrastructure and revitalize the seven block area of Lenox Village. Project elements will include new sidewalks, new pocket parks, new gateways to downtown entrances and new lighting. This PWED project will support the nearby roadway reconstruction project along West Street (Route 183), the roadway that links the Village to Tanglewood. Improvements to West Street will include new sidewalks, new bicycle lanes and upgraded drainage. These two projects together are expected to create a much-improved gateway for Lenox and for Tanglewood, a critical component of the town and regional economy.

“This project will make long-awaited investments in Lenox to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and accessibility, helping people connect to a vital cultural resource,” said Secretary James Aloisi Jr. “This is a perfect example of the Patrick Administration’s commitment to regional equity and our goal of using transportation funds to support economic growth and vibrant communities.”

“This is a major step forward for Lenox’s downtown revitalization efforts,” said Senator Benjamin Downing. “This award will improve the streetscapes, and driver and pedestrian safety in Lenox Village. The new bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, and green spaces will certainly increase foot traffic and economic activity to the area.”

“This is great news!” said Representative William Smitty Pignatelli. “During these tough economic times, the Town of Lenox is making a big investment in its economic future and this PWED will allow the town to complete this project.”

“Lenox is very pleased to be a recipient of a PWED grant award,” said Gregory Federspiel, Town Manager. “The funds provided through the grant will play a significant role in allowing us to complete our Village Improvement Plan which is critical to the revitalization of our historic Village. Merchants and citizens are excited about they have seen in Phase 1 which is now partially complete. With this assistance from the Executive Office of Transportation, the Town will be able to move ahead with Phase II and create a new vitality to our downtown area. The Town of Lenox appreciates the support Governor Patrick and Transportation Secretary Aloisi are able to extend to us.”

The Executive Office of Transportation provides PWED funding awards to municipalities for transportation infrastructure improvements that will spur economic development, job creation, smart growth and better pedestrian access.

The PWED program has a long history of stimulating job growth and commercial development for cities and towns. Since 2000, EOT has awarded $99.6 million in PWED contracts for 98 projects in 66 municipalities across the Commonwealth. This EOT funding has leveraged hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment and helped create thousands of local jobs, both permanent jobs and temporary construction jobs.

Created by the Legislature in the 1980s, the PWED program plays an important role in the state’s overall infrastructure investment strategy, and is meant to assist municipalities by supporting local projects that stimulate economic development. PWED is part of the Commonwealth Capital program for Fiscal Year 2009, and is coordinated with other discretionary state spending programs that affect development patterns in Massachusetts. This coordination allows the state to leverage investments, economic development, housing growth and environmental sustainability.

Infrastructure investments are key components of Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines a range of state and federal funding sources to provide immediate and long-term economic relief. The Massachusetts Recovery Plan positions the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

•Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and provide safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;
•Use public infrastructure improvements to leverage private investment and broad-based economic development;
•Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and
•Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.