|Proposed Bill Earmarks Millions to Greylock Glen, Pittsfield Parking|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
09:01PM / Thursday, August 25, 2011
BOSTON, Mass. — Gov. Deval Patrick filed a supplemental budget bill Thursday that could bring $4.5 million to the county.
The bill will send $2.5 million to Pittsfield for parking garage improvements and $2 million to Adams to construct roads at the Greylock Glen. The funds come from an estimated $460 million in surplus the state had at the close of the 2011 fiscal year.
According to April Anderson, assistant secretary for economic development with the state Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Greylock Glen project was picked because of the steps the town has already taken to become shovel ready. Adams has filed for expedited permitting, used grant money to get engineering completed for roads and utilities and is already permitted by the state.
"It will not fully fund the roads but it will get them started," Anderson said on Thursday. "We've been working with Adams toward this for many years."
The Greylock Glen Advisory Committee is expected to apply for a MassWorks grant in two weeks for the infrastructure work.
In Pittsfield, the bill could provide half the cost to upgrade the parking garage on McKay Street behind the Beacon Cinema. The estimated $5 million project would be split between the city and the state. Anderson said it was chosen because of the revitalization efforts the city has put into North Street.
"Business is returning and the downtown is becoming vibrant and the next thing was the parking garage," Anderson said.
According to a release from Patrick's office, the bill also includes investments in work-force training through health care, work-force training for health-care workers to transition to new systems proposed in health-care reform legislation, summer jobs programs and STEM initiatives.The bill also commits an additional $10 million to cities and towns affected by the June 1 tornadoes for unreimbursed costs and $6.2 million to reimburse cities and towns for a portion of the costs incurred in the December 2008 ice storm.
"Thanks to our strong fiscal management, Massachusetts is leading the nation in economic recovery, and these investments will create jobs to keep that momentum going," Patrick said in a press release. "These funds will also help cities and towns recover from this summer’s tornadoes, while making an investment in our future preparedness by strengthening the rainy day fund."
About half of the surplus will be placed in the state's stabilization account and some funds will be used to make up for cuts in the health and human services.
The bill will now need to be passed by both the state House of Representatives and the Senate before being signed into law.