MELROSE — Mayor Rob Dolan and other city and state officials announced this week that Melrose has received $500,000 through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program for improvements to the Essex Street Corridor.
The proposed scope of work for the estimated $750,000 project will include Essex Street, beginning at Main Street and continuing to the intersection of West Emerson Street at Cedar Park. It will also include Willow Street from Essex to West Foster. The project will provide a new road, sidewalks, trees, ornamental lighting, multiple safety improvements and other aesthetic improvements.
“As a community, through the hard work of our planning office, legislative delegation and business community, we have been very successful in creating responsible business and residential development and opportunities along our rail corridors beginning at Oak Grove on the Malden line and continuing throughout the City all the way to the Highlands Business District abutting Wakefield and Stoneham. Essex Street is the critical connection between all these areas,” said Mayor Dolan
Melrose has been described as a model for smart growth principles with its walkable neighborhoods, dense pattern of development and a variety of transportation options. The Essex Street corridor exemplifies this, providing an important connection between the pedestrian-friendly businesses and bus routes of downtown Main Street to the Cedar Park commuter rail station.
“I’m very pleased to see Melrose receive this funding to enhance its infrastructure and pedestrian safety,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “Investing in safer roads and sidewalks benefits our neighborhood businesses and brings our community closer together.”
Representative Paul Brodeur added, “I am very happy to work in partnership with the City of Melrose, Mayor Dolan and the Chamber of Commerce to continue the outstanding partnership that the Commonwealth and the City have formed to improve our infrastructure and promote economic development in all the areas of the City.
Through the assistance of MAPC, a Commuter Rail Corridor Plan for the Tremont/Essex area was established and approved unanimously by the Melrose Board of Alderman in 2014 that encompasses land use and zoning, transportation and streetscape improvements.
“Essex Street contains numerous multi-family developments, ample municipal parking, access to City Hall, and a variety of businesses ranging from small, local-owned shops to a large supermarket. It will also soon be the site of a large assisted living facility at the former Deering Lumber site. Our goal is to see the Essex Street corridor become a continuation of our downtown business district, added Dolan.
The MassWorks Infrastructure Program provides a one-stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support responsible economic development. The MassWorks Infrastructure Program is administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development under the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary Gregory Bialecki.
“Through the MassWorks program I am seeing firsthand in the Highlands Business District the excitement and economic boost these funds give to smaller business districts that may not currently be thriving to the extent of our downtown. Given the potential economic business development benefit to this small business district, the support and commitment the city has provided this area with other projects abutting these proposed limits and the proximity of this proposed project area to the commuter rail and senior housing, I believe we are just scratching the surface of the potential of this area,” Dolan further explained.