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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Construction Begins on Great Barrington Affordable Housing Project
Site work has started at 100 Bridge St. with the anticipation of the first apartments opening in 2021.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 45-unit affordable housing project on the old New England Log Homes site is moving forward now that financing is in place for the $17.2 million project.
The state's Department of Housing and Community Development has awarded approximately $15.4 million in funding to Community Development Corp. of South Berkshire for Bentley Apartments at 100 Bridge St. These funds will provide the final financing for the affordable apartments while simultaneously remediating the entire eight-acre site along the Housatonic River. Construction is expected to begin in late spring or early summer of 2019.
The Community Development Corp. of South Berkshire is working with co-sponsor/developer Berkshire Housing Development Corp. to bring the project to fruition.
The project provides 45 new affordable apartments for families with incomes of up to approximately $53,000, in the core of downtown. Construction has commenced with the site work for the initial building. Apartments will be available by late spring 2021.