Ludlow Mills Among Projects to Receive State Funding from Site Readiness Awards
LUDLOW — On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera were joined by state and local officials and representatives from Westmass Area Development Corp. to announce $2,834,850 in funding to nine projects — including Ludlow Mills, the only Western Mass. project of the nine — in the sixth round of Site Readiness Program awards.
The Site Readiness Program is part of the Community One Stop for Growth, a single application portal and collaborative review process for grant programs launched in January to make targeted investments based on a development continuum. The program was established to help municipalities, private-sector businesses, and nonprofit economic-development entities advance prime sites for large-scale industrial and commercial use. The funding will be used for a variety of pre-development work, including planning studies, feasibility studies, master planning, environmental work, strategic land acquisition, and site improvements, increasing the development potential of nearly 665 acres across the Commonwealth.
In this round, Westmass Area Development Corp. is receiving $650,000 that will fund the design of a new access road, new water and sewer infrastructure, survey work, and parking areas as part of plans to redevelop the 130-acre Ludlow Mills site at 100 State St.
Also on Tuesday, the Baker-Polio administration celebrated Ludlow’s second One Stop award of $250,000 through the Underutilized Properties Program. The funding, which was also awarded to Westmass Development Corp., will be used for capital improvements to the historic stockhouses also within Ludlow Mills.
“Through the One Stop, our administration can continue helping cities and towns move forward with development projects that are critical to their future economic success,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “The Site Readiness Program supplies key stakeholders with the financial assistance they need to prepare key sites for revitalization.”
Added Polito, “now in its sixth year, the Site Readiness Program complements other state programs like the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, MassWorks, and the Underutilized Properties Program that support communities looking to advance their economic-development goals. Cities, towns, and their partners can easily access information about these resources through Community One Stop for Growth, a new simple and streamlined application portal for the Commonwealth’s community-development grant programs.”
Administered by MassDevelopment, the Site Readiness Program aims to boost Massachusetts’ supply of large, well-located, project-ready sites; accelerate private-sector investment in industrial and commercial projects; and support the conversion of abandoned sites and obsolete facilities into clean, actively used, tax-generating properties. Its first five rounds provided nearly $13.6 million for 58 projects in almost every region of the Commonwealth, increasing the development potential of 5,073 acres across Massachusetts. On Jan. 14, the administration signed new economic-development legislation providing $15 million in reauthorizations for the Site Readiness Program.
In One Stop’s inaugural round, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development received 267 expressions of interest from 178 communities through the new, simplified process. For this year’s awards, 196 grant applications received a total of $88.7 million for projects in 122 communities.
“The Site Readiness Program that we included in the economic-development bill is an essential component to getting underutilized properties back to productive use and generating economic growth in our communities,” state Sen. Eric Lesser said. “The Ludlow Mills is an excellent example of what is possible with smart state investment that can catalyze broader transformations across our Commonwealth.”
Ludlow Select Board Chair William Rosenblum noted that “the town of Ludlow looks forward to our continued relationship with Westmass Area Development. We welcome the opportunity to revitalize the Ludlow Mills in a manner that will benefit the taxpayers of Ludlow.”
Westmass President and CEO Jeff Daley added that “Westmass is grateful for programs like Site Readiness, as this allows us to unlock the capabilities of projects that will have a long-term, positive impact on the Ludlow Mills, Ludlow, and the Commonwealth,” and that “these dollars are the first step at redeveloping the largest brownfield project in New England.”