Mayor Jennifer Macksey introduces the governor. With her are state Rep. John Barrett III, left, state Sen. Paul Mark, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The redevelopment of the massive Greylock mill into retail, artisan and living space has been boosted by millions in state and federal funding.
And it was at Greylock Works, that Gov. Maura Healey chose to announce one of her first priorities — the filing of a $987 million bond authorization targeting housing and economic development.
"We're here at Greylock Works because it's a prime example of the impact of the MassWorks program," said Healey on Thursday morning. "Greylock's received several millions of dollars from MassWorks over the years to support the renovation of this wonderful building and turn it into the vibrant place that it is with lots of great stuff going on. ...
"Greylock has been able to provide good jobs, with more housing for people in the community and spur economic development in the region. And these are the types of innovative projects our administration wants to support across the state."
The bonding authorization would continue the work of existing housing and economic development programs, make funding available for climate resilient housing and transit-oriented developments; funding for cities and towns; support for libraries, planning and tourism, and middle-mile broadband.
"One of the most immediate needs it will address is funding for MassWorks [a state infrastructure program]. This is the state's largest and most flexible source of capital plans to municipalities for public infrastructure projects," said Healey. "These projects support housing production, spur economic development and create jobs across the state. This bill has $600 million for MassWorks alone and extends its authorization into fiscal year 2028."
The governor said there were plans for a more comprehensive bill later in the session. Her administration has also filed a bill to authorize the state to borrow an additional $400 million to fund roads and bridges under Chapter 90 for the next two years.
The State Road mill owned by Karla Rothstein and Salvatore Perry has already become a gathering space for everything from dances to banquets to festivals. A number of businesses have opened in the Shed portion, including chef Brian Alberg's Break Room. The next phase of the project is developing about 50 condominiums.
Healey was last at the mill (officially) in 2016 as attorney general to deliver a brownfield covenant that would allow the work to continue. Unofficially, she was at the Break Room for dinner after attending Fresh Grass this past fall at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
The she and her team toured the construction area on the second floor and ended at a gathering space that had been completely transformed since her last visit. She had planned on stopping a couple other places (including former Gov. Jane Swift's farm in Williamstown) after lunch with Mayor Jennifer Macksey, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and newly sworn in Housing and Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao at the Break Room.
Macksey said she had great confidence in the new administration. "I am so excited for this upcoming year and many years to come," she said in introducing the governor and lieutenant governor.
The new governor had stressed during her campaign that Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires would not be forgotten. Closing out the two-week mark of her term, she was back in the Berkshires
"It was very important to the LG and me and our team that we come to North Adams. We have said throughout and said on the trail that we will be a team administration that is about all parts of the state and that is certainly what this visit represents," said Healey, who was accompanied by .
"I think for me, it is absolutely critical that people in the Berkshires and Western Massachusetts know that they have a partner with us know, that they have administration who sees you, who hears you, and who's going to work with you. And that's what it means to be a commonwealth."
Before women held both seats in the Corner Office, there was @janemswift—the first woman to lead this state. We stopped by her fantastic farm to meet some new friends and snag some fresh eggs while we were out in Western Massachusetts today. pic.twitter.com/LJ7U1Au0kx
The governor pointed to her new cabinet member, Hao, a Williams College graduate and former trustee and Williamstown homeowner, and said, in response to questions, that she was still filling critical positions in her administration.
"We are committed to making sure we have representation from Western Massachusetts," she said.
Hao, co-founder of private equity firm Cove Hill Partners, chatting with Macksey, state Sen. Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III, recalled how she'd run the back streets of Pittsfield to find Onota Lake with the Williams track team and her feelings of home as she rounded the Hairpin Turn.
Driscoll, former mayor of Salem, said the new administration feels a real obligation to the 351 cities and towns of the state.
"We wanted to be in this particular region because you know, all the solutions are not the same for every community," she said. "There's a lot of things that can be done together but there are unique attributes and certainly needs that are different."
The lieutenant governor said they wanted to be aware of what's happening on the ground and partnering with local leaders and members of the Legislature.
"This is our first trip here as a team and it certainly won't be the last," she said.
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