October 25, 2021 – Mayor Michael Nicholson, Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas, Gardner Redevelopment Authority Chair Ronald Cormier, and State Representative Jon Zlotnik announced that the City of Gardner has been selected by the Baker administration to receive over
$4.1 Million in grant funding for the revitalization of Rear Main Street in Downtown Gardner. This project is part of the close to $10 Million plan the City has undertaken in the past year to revitalize the downtown.
“I am very excited to see this project get started in our Downtown,” said Mayor Mike Nicholson. “This will give new life to an area that has been overgrown and vacant for quite some time. This project will help bring people into Gardner, draw them to the Downtown, and increase the demand placed on our local businesses.”
The funding for this project comes from the Commonwealth’s MassWorks Grant program and will be used to construct a new event plaza, food truck parking area, 165-space unmetered parking lot, and information stations. This will also allow for rear access to several of the buildings on Main Street and add new entry ways connecting Main Street to the Rear Main Street
– Derby Drive area.
Also taking part in this project on Rear Main Street is a new apartment complex that will have 56-units of workforce housing. Under the Massachusetts Workforce Housing Program, 20% of available units must be rented at affordable rates, with the rest of the building having market rate and a middle level known as a “worker rate.” The City and the Gardner Redevelopment Authority have partnered with EA Fish, Inc., who constructed the Lofts at 30 Pine in Downtown Gardner, to construct and develop this property. The building is expected to be approximately 60,000 square feet and bring in approximately $55,000 in tax revenue annually.
“It’s exciting for the City and Gardner Redevelopment Authority to partner with two private sector developers to increase our market rate and workforce housing inventory in our Downtown,” said Ronald Cormier, Gardner City Councilor and Chairman of the Gardner Redevelopment Authority. “This infusion of public and private funds within the Downtown Urban Renewal Area is key to attracting additional future investment in the City and furthering the Urban Renewal Plan goals.”
These latest grant releases coincide with the several projects that the City has undertaken in the Downtown area in the past year, totaling close $10 Million. These projects included the addition
of the outdoor seating options, sidewalk improvements, water infrastructure upgrades, road paving, banners, light posts and crossing signals, bike lanes, and more.
“These funds will help us continue the redevelopment of the greater downtown area and represent one of the largest influxes of state funds into the City for development in decades. It connects to investments we’ve previously made, and compliments investments we hope to be able to make in the future,” stated Rep Zlotnik.
"It is huge for our City's growth potential to be recognized by our State partners in this way. The MassWorks Grant funding is essential to the Rear Main St. revitalization project and the project is essential to Gardner's continued development,” said City Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas. “I look forward to seeing Downtown Gardner keep moving in the right direction, and feel fortunate that we have the opportunity to do so."
Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito will be visiting the City in the coming weeks to celebrate these accomplishments for the City of Gardner. In the meantime, the City will be installing banners along the fence of Orpheum Park (at the site of the former Orpheum Movie Theater) and in the windows of the Ryan Block and Temptations building that highlight the details of these programs as well as the fences around Orpheum park to highlight the projects being done.
“I really want to thank the staff in our Community Development and Planning Department working with MassDevelopment to really make this a reality,” concluded Mayor Nicholson. “Director Trevor Beauregard and his staff did a lot of work to make this happen, and I can’t thank them enough for their dedication to the City and its people.”
For more information on the projects happening in Downtown, contact
Director Trevor Beauregard at the Department of Community Development and Planning at email@example.com
Mayor Nicholson: firstname.lastname@example.org 978-630-1490.
City Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas email@example.com (978) 337-1533 GRA Chairman Ronald Cormier firstname.lastname@example.org
For information on the other ongoing projects as part of the City’s Downtown Improvement Program, see below.
Rear Main Street Redevelopment
The City received $4.1 Million from the MassWorks Grant program to construct an event plaza with benches and bike racks on Rear Main Street to draw people into the Downtown area. The project also includes a new walkway along behind the existing Main Street buildings to enable small business opportunities for new rear basement level access to their stores.
Lastly, the project includes the addition of 165 new unmetered public parking spaces at the site to serve nearby small businesses.
The residential portion of the Project will introduce a 4-story building with a basement to the City’s Downtown area. The building consists of 52 residential apartments and is expected to generate approximately 150 construction jobs and 3 permanent property management jobs to
service the new 60,000 square foot building. It will also generate approximately $55,000 in new annual local tax revenue to the City.
Rome Square Revitalization
Site Readiness Grant
City Free Cash Appropriation
In January of 2021, the City of Gardner Purchased the building on the
corner of Main Street and Willow Street. The building had been vacant for several years and the brick siding of the building had begun to fall.
The purchase was done with $80,000 from the Site Readiness Grant Program from MassDevelopment and an additional $55,000 from a City Free Cash Appropriation.
The City is currently in the final stages of a purchase and sale agreement with a pediatric dentist office to demolish the property and build a new dentist office in the area.
The dentist office has also purchased the vacant lot adjacent to this location.
Outdoor Seating Enhancements
Shared Streets and Spaces Grant
The City of Gardner received $47,999 from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Shared Streets and Spaces Grant program in September of 2020 to purchase several tables, chairs, and tents to provide outdoor seating in the Downtown area. Three of these tables also include solar powered canopies with USB ports to charge mobile devices.
The program provides technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.
Bike Path and Crossing Enhancements
Complete Streets Grant
Mass Trails Grant
City Free Cash Appropriation
This project includes the implementation of shared-use markings, signs and ADA upgrades (e.g., compliant crossings, signage, and pavement markings) along Lake Street, separated bicycle lanes and ADA upgrades along Rear Main Street, a combination of shared- use/separated bicycle lanes and ADA upgrades along Willow Street, Main Street and Timpany Boulevard to the Route 2 rotary where it will connect seamlessly with planned Mass DOT pedestrian and
bicycle improvements, including a multiuse pathway to safely transect the
rotary. It will then continue south from the limit of the Mass DOT upgrades and will include a separated bicycle path and ADA compliant crossings, signs, and markings along Timpany Boulevard from the Route 2 rotary to Union Street. Specific ADA upgrades will include compliant crossing ramps, detectable warning pads, pavement markings, and signs.
Project #2 Green Street Rapid Flashing Beacon, ADA compliant ramps and crosswalks at Heywood Hospital.
Project #4 Green Street pedestrian operated button crossing signal at the
intersection of the North Central pathway and Green Street directly adjacent to MWCC.
Downtown Community Development Block Grant Improvement Projects
Phase 1 included the installation of ADA compliant curb cuts and sidewalk replacements and repairs. It also included the installation of new decorative lighting fixtures throughout the
downtown. Lastly, the project regraded sidewalks in the downtown to make the entire downtown area fully ADA accessible.
Phase 2 of this project included the rehabilitation of sidewalks, lightings, and crossings along Connors Street and City Hall Avenue, and Parker Street at Graham Street. It also includes sidewalk improvements along Parker Street Between Connors and Graham Streets and the interstation with Main Street and Vernon Street. Lastly, the project also includes new signage, pavement markings, ADA compliant crossings, and a pedestrian operated beacon at the intersection of Parker Street and West Street.
Water Infrastructure Improvement Project
Water Enterprise Loan
The Gardner Department of Public Works is currently undergoing an $11 Million project to replace several of the old water utility lines in the City that were installed between 1880 and 1930.
This project, funded through a loan through the Water Enterprise Account, focuses mainly on the Downtown area but will also be improving several areas around the City as well through the installation of new water infrastructure (pipes, valves, hydrants, etc.) and new pavement in areas where the new lines are being installed.
Of the $11 million, approximately $3 million was used for the Downtown area.
Downtown Beautification Project
City Free Cash Appropriation
The Gardner Department of Public Works and the Department of Community Development and Planning partnered with local businesses and organizations to construct new planter boxes throughout the downtown area. Concrete Solutions donated the blocks for the stone flower box by the former Visitor Center.
The DPW is also installing new flagpoles in Bullnose Park at the intersection of Main Street and Pleasant Street that will fly the American, Massachusetts, and Gardner flags.
Downtown Banner Project
Funded through Sponsorships
The Gardner Department of Public Works and the Department of Community Development and Planning partnered with Gardner Square Two, Inc. to create a new Downtown Banner Program where businesses, organizations, and residents can sponsor banners to hang in the Downtown throughout the year. This
program allows members of the community to find ways to market their businesses, give back to their City, honor a loved one, and show off what we have to offer here.
The banners hang from the Victorian Light Posts and are made in house by the Department of Public Works Lines and Signs Department.
Sponsorship forms can be submitted through the Gardner Square Two organization.
Rear Main Conceptual
Prelim Site Plan Submission Final Pkg
Rear Main Apartment Bldg.