Governer allocates $5M for downtown Quincy project

Gov. Deval Patrick has granted $5 million for the $1.6 billion Quincy Center redevelopment project.
The allocation, which needs to be approved by the state Legislature, would reduce to $45 million the amount of state and federal grant money Quincy still needs to secure before the downtown project gets under way. It was announced Thursday as part of Patricks $460 million supplemental budget plan.

The $5 million would probably be used to cover about half of the cost of the planned rerouting of Town Brook around Quincy Center. It is part of $35 million in infrastructure spending Patrick designated in his supplemental budget, which allocates surplus money.

The grants are the first under a new state program called MassWorks.

This is exactly the spirit of what were trying to achieve, said April Anderson Lamoureux, an assistant state secretary of economic development, talking about the Quincy Center project. Our intention is that it will help them advance Town Brook in the very near term.

Developer Street-Works LLCs obligations under the master development agreement for the downtown project do not kick in until Quincy has secured all of the state and federal money needed for three public projects: the Town Brook relocation, construction of a bridge connecting Burgin Parkway to Hancock Street via Cliveden Street, and creation of a public park called Adams Green/Hancock Common in front of city hall.

Anderson Lamoureux said the state would have funded the entire $12 million Town Brook project, but the MassWorks program requires that money be spent in the one-year funding cycle in which it is granted. The cycle starts in September. The earliest possible completion date for the brook project is toward the end of 2012.

Were going to continue working with the city to fully fund that effort so that they can advance the project in a timely fashion, Anderson Lamoureux said.

The city has a pending application for $50 million from the states Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program, known as I-Cubed. The figure will likely be reduced to $45 million in the wake of the Town Brook grant, Anderson Lamoureux said.

Unlike the MassWorks award, the state only makes payments for an I-Cubed project once new, tax-generating buildings are completed and occupied as promised.

The state funding announcement came a week after the announcement that the Adams Green portion of the project received a $978,000 federal transportation grant. That money will go toward improving an affected intersection, and it is not considered part what the city needs to cover with the $50 million it is seeking.

On Tuesday, a group of 11 residents aligned with the Quincy Environmental Network filed an appeal of a city conservation commission decision in favor of the brook plan.

Quincy cannot get the $5 million grant until the appeal, to the state Department of Environmental Protection, has been resolved. The DEP will come up with a list of conditions that supercedes the list the conservation commission issued, and the Town Brook plan will have to modified accordingly.

The appeal states that the proposed brook realignment would create a permanent, permitted degradation of the brook and would not protect the interest of fisheries and wildlife habitat. It also alleges that there would be a loss of public amenity of the form of access to the brook.

The brook runs in a culvert under Quincy Center and contains spawning areas for smelt. The proposed new brook route runs along the under-construction concourse road that will connect Southern Artery to Burgin Parkway. The brook will be exposed to daylight in 5,500 square feet of park space planned where the American Legion post now stands on Mechanic Street.

The residents who are appealing favor a more expensive plan that would uncover the brook through the project area and add more park space. Steve Perdios, a Quincy Environmental Network spokesman and city council candidate, said the park space is inappropriately small.

These are not park spaces; this is not how communities deal with solving environmental problems, Perdios said. Everybody wants to see the downtown get fixed up, but theyve got to do something better with the Town Brook.

Meanwhile, the city has begun demolition of the Ross Garage, which Street-Works has a signed agreement to purchase as part of the project. The developer plans to build an anchor retail store on the property.

Officials said the $400,000 demolition of the garages extension deck is needed to clear way for new, heavier-duty utility lines, a $2.4 million job Verizon says will take a year to complete.

Per the agreement with the city, Street-Works isnt due to close on the Ross Garage until 2013. The developer has agreed to pay $4.8 million for the property, including demolition costs. The cost of ongoing demolition will be added to the purchase price.

We are moving this historic redevelopment forward every day and we are doing it in a way that makes sense logistically and financially, Mayor Thomas Koch said in a press release.
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Governor of Massachusetts
Website
www.mass.gov/
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