LEE, Mass. — A $4.9 million MassWorks grant was awarded to the town of Lee to develop infrastructure to served the planned renovation of the Eagle Mills.
State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli and state Sen. Adam Hinds were joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash and municipal leaders to announce the award early Thursday morning at the project site.
"MassWorks grants act as a lifeline for our small communities, and I believe this grant money will serve as a transformative development for the Fourth Berkshire District," said Pignatelli, a former Lenox selectman. "I know first-hand how small community projects, such as the Lee Eagle Mill, rely on infrastructure grants such as these."
In total, $7,789,664 has been awarded to the Fourth Berkshire District towns of Lee, Tolland, Monterey, and Sheffield through the 2018 MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program.
The 8.4-acre Eagle Mills complex has buildings dating to the 1800s and once employed thousands of area residents in papermaking. The last mill closed in 2008.
The plans proposed in 2012 by Eagle Mill Redevelopment LLC, a private development company, will create a mixed retail/residential complex in 192,000 square feet. The strucctures will support 80 market-rate and affordable housing units, a boutique hotel, office and retail space, and eateries. It will also open up riverfront accessibility on the Housatonic with recreational, performance and public gathering spaces.
The entire project is estimated to cost $60 million to $80 million with construction to start in 2019. It is expected to create more than 200 full-time jobs.
The MassWorks funding will cover the full design and construction of replacement water lines running from the town'’s water treatment facility to the Eagle Mill project site at the north end of Main Street.
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides grants to municipalities for projects that generate additional private sector investment. Each year, the MassWorks program allocates 10 percent of awarded funds to assist municipalities with populations of 7,000 or less in completing roadway safety projects.
At a later stop in Tolland, Polito announced MassWorks awards of $889,664 for Tolland to conduct road improvements to Colebrook River Road to enhance safety and accommodate school buses, public safety vehicles, and larger trucks. Monterey was awarded $1 million to perform a full-depth reconstruction on Blue Hill Road to improve safety for school buses that participate in the regional school system in Great Barrington. Finally, the town of Sheffield was awarded $1 million to complete vital infrastructure improvements to three bridges, the required replacement of a bridge on Lime Kiln Road, and continued improvements to County Road.
"Governor Baker and I are happy to support small towns through MassWorks," said Polito. "These grants enable rural communities to proceed with vital projects and upgrades that will support their communities."
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Great Barrington Appoints Permanent Police Chief
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Acting Police Chief Paul Storti, a 26-year veteran of the Great Barrington Police Department, has been appointed as the town's next chief of police.
Storti, 53, was among 30-plus candidates screened by a Police Chief Search Committee, comprised of town residents and led by the recruiting firm Community Paradigm Associates LLC, headquartered in Plymouth. Storti was the only internal job candidate.
"After interviewing three finalists for the position, Paul Storti emerged easily as the very best candidate to build on the progressive groundwork laid by Chief Walsh," said Town Manager Mark Pruhenski, referring to retired Chief William R. Walsh Jr.
Pruhenski said that during his 10 years as a sergeant, and in a few weeks as acting chief, Storti has earned the respect of other officers and has been a leader in advocating for a department open to change and 21st century policing practices.
Storti has been serving as acting chief since Dec. 23, when Chief William R. Walsh Jr. retired after 40 years in the job. He joined the Police Department in 1995 as a full-time officer after working part-time in neighboring towns. In the community, he's also been a volunteer coach and referee for community and school sports teams.
Storti, 53, was among 30-plus candidates screened by a Police Chief Search Committee, comprised of town residents and led by the recruiting firm Community Paradigm Associates LLC, headquartered in Plymouth. click for more
The first-arriving Great Barrington units found a large 7,500-square-foot single-family log cabin with fire rapidly spreading from the basement to the attic on the west side of the dwelling.
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