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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Pignatelli Wants Override of Regs Keeping State News Off Cable
LEE, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli is asking the state's congressional representatives to push for an emergency override that will bring Massachusetts news to the Berkshires as the state addresses the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The letter to U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal asks for an override or modification of the Federal Communication Commission's outdated regulations that place the farthest west county of Massachusetts in the New York Capital District's "Designated Market Area."
"Governor Baker declared a state of emergency earlier this week in response to the coronavirus. The most recent reports as of [Friday, have a] total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Commonwealth at 18," the 4th Berkshire representative states. "Further, there are 123 confirmed and presumptive positive cases to the virus, nine of which are confirmed to be in Berkshire County.
"Despite this, most communities in the Berkshires and throughout Western Massachusetts are still limited in their ability to access local Massachusetts news stations."