495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan In Action
Since the 2012 release of the 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan, the region has benefited from the Plan's continued implementation. Most recently, three Priority Development Areas were awarded MassWorks Infrastructure Grants by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
Ashland– Mixed-Use TOD Infrastructure Project ($6,000,000)
The Ashland TOD Mixed Use District has been permitted for the construction of over 900 housing units, 141,000 square feet of commercial development, 90 acres of open space, and 5 miles of walking & bike trails. The MassWorks award will support the creation of water, sewer and roadway connections throughout the site as well as the creation of walking and biking trails connecting the development to downtown and the Ashland Commuter Rail Station. MassWorks funds are anticipated to be drawn down concurrently with phase I of the private development in the TOD Mixed Use District which will include 500 new housing units. The Ashland TOD District is designated as a Priority Development Area in the 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan.
Berlin- River Road West Project ($1,528,585)
The Town of Berlin identified the River Road West Area in a 1998 Master Plan as a prime location for mixed use development while seeking the preservation of critical open space known as "the flats". The Town has since pre-permitted the land along River Road West for a 26 acre village style development with the preservation of 86 acres. The MassWorks award will support critical roadway and pedestrian improvements along River Road West which will enable Phase 3 of the development, known as Riverbridge, to commence. This phase of the construction will consist of 205 housing units and a 77,000 square foot hotel. The location of the Riverbridge development is identified as a Priority Development Area in the 495/MetroWest Development Compact Plan.
Marlborough- Southwest Quadrant Complete Streets Initiative ($1,650,000)
The MassWorks award will support roadway, pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Simarano Drive in Marlborough's Southwest Quadrant and is matched by approximately $1.3M in City funding. This area, once home to Fidelity and HP, is experiencing a comeback with the decision of TJX and Quest Diagnostics to locate offices in the area. In addition to attracting large office users, the City has proactively taken steps to rezone this area to allow for mixed-use, multi-family development with the goal of providing the City with long term, sustainable growth. The infrastructure improvements will support the creation of 350 new housing units, a 125 room hotel and 50,000 square feet of retail and dining space in the near term. The Simarano Drive area is designated as a Priority Development Area in the 495/MetroWest Compact Study.
The 495/MetroWest region of the state has seen tremendous success in economic development and job creation over the past thirty years. There is every indication the region can continue its success in economic development and job creation for the next twenty years. In order to ensure that success, however, significant steps need to be taken to make the next twenty years of economic development more sustainable for the region. The Patrick-Murray Administration partnered with the 495/MetroWest Partnership, the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, MetroWest Regional Collaborative, and Mass Audubon in a development compact plan for this region. The Plan is intended to create a shared framework for developing state, regional and local strategies for the growth, development and land preservation in the 37 cities and towns within the study area. Check out this recent guest column in the MetroWest Daily News or click here to Read More about the Compact Plan.