Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack, along with Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and State Sen. Joe Boncore came to Winthrop last Friday to award a MassWorks grant. Winthrop received a $261,680 MassWorks grant for improvements to French Square, Hagman Road and Woodside Avenue. The grant will go toward an overall project to improve the center infrastructure.
Winthrop received an earlier MassWorks grant for $2.3 million for the center last summer.
Pollack and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver also came to promote MassDOT’s Complete Streets Program. Representatives from other communities such as Springfield and Haverhill came to Winthrop for the presentation, which was held outdoors in the parking lot of 45 Pauline St.
“Our most important priority is increasing safety, reliability and accessibility,” said Gulliver.
“Every community is unique with different assets,” Polito said, noting the partnership with Pollack’s office. “We agreed that this was one to invest in.
“It is not lost on me that I’m in the hometown of the great Speaker DeLeo, who has been a good friend to (Gov.) Charlie (Baker) and me and the rest of the Commonwealth,” Polito said. “He does a terrific job and a lot of it is because of his serving as selectman in this community.”
Polito also gave a nod to State Sen. Joseph Boncore, who also chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, and his family’s roots in Winthrop.
“This is a much-needed investment in our town,” Boncore said, and noted that he read the history column in the Winthrop Transcript last week, and 30 years ago, the improvement of the center district was being discussed. “Though most, if not all asked about parking. A lot hasn’t changed.”
“This program represents one of the many ways the Commonwealth gives tools to cities and towns to tackle the challenges facing their communities. These grants will help all people,” DeLeo said.
Signed into the law in 2016, the Complete Streets Program provides funding for municipalities to carry out transportation infrastructure improvement projects that provide safe and accessible options for all travel modes and all people. A network of Complete Streets expands travel choices by making it easy for people to cross the road, walk to school, bicycle to work, or hop on and off buses. Complete Streets are designed with all users in mind, and they make non-motorized transportation more convenient, more attractive, and safer.
Including the current round of awards that totals$5.3 million, the Baker-Polito administration has now awarded over $23 million to 71 communities throughout the Commonwealth.
“This is a program that is part of our capital commitment,” Polito said.
Assistant Town Manager Joe Domelowicz said the grant includes improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians and automobile users.
Town Council President Ron Vecchia thanked the legislative delegation for supporting Winthrop in this fourth round of MassWorks grants.
“It fascinates me how this has taken off and I think its because it’s a very simple and powerful idea,” Pollack said. “A complete street is safe and feels safe for everyone.”