WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Westfield is receiving nearly $2 million in funding from the state; money which is hoped to bring about millions more in private investment.
Governor Charlie Baker traveled to Westfield Tuesday morning to announce the $1.93 million in MassWorks Infrastructure Program funding. The money will help fund improvements on Route 20, including a new traffic signal. The traffic lights will be synchronized so traffic will not be stop-and-go.
“This is a program that unlocks private investment as it will here in Westfield and local development and people have also used it for housing projects and a whole variety of other initiatives and it’s flexible,” said Governor Baker.
“It’s going to be restructuring Route 20 with a traffic signal into this location as well as some other improvements along Route 20, but it’s going to open up the corridor and be able to streamline traffic flow from West Springfield right down into Westfield,” Westfield Mayor Brian Sullivan told 22News.
The grant money is only available for shovel-ready projects, which means the City of Westfield already had to do the design and engineering work on Route 20 before applying for the grant. Mayor Sullivan said it was worth it. It’s worth it for business owner Nabil Hannoush as well. He renovated an abandoned auto dealership into a complex including Short Stop Bar and Grill.
Ultimately, they are hoping to encourage $8 million worth of economic development in the area. Hannoush hopes to create 100 new jobs with the expansion.
The improvements will bring the important stretch of roadway into compliance with Massachusetts “Complete Streets” standards, under which roads are considered safe an accessible for cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit.
MassWorks is a program funded with state taxpayer dollars, which is designed to help cities and towns with transportation projects that are designed to encourage economic growth.
In August, Governor Baker signed the Economic Development Legislation – $1 billion initiative will advance community development, workforce training, and innovation
22News reporter Kait Walsh was at Tuesday’s announcement, and will show you the improvements planned on 22News at Noon, and tonight on 22News starting at 5:00.