The City of Douglas received $3.3 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to support infrastructure improvements to bring businesses to the Blackstone Valley.
Congressman Jim McGovern, who helped secure the funding, said upgrades to the city’s water and sewer system will service 2.4 million square feet of new warehouse and industrial space. The project is expected to create 750 jobs and generate $173 million in private investment.
“Infrastructure is one of the challenges in the Blackstone Valley region. It’s a beautiful community, but for any type of major business or facility that locates there, it has its issues,” McGovern said. “(This funding) is going to help pave the way for warehouses that, quite frankly, will store many consumer needs and items to make our whole region more resilient and stronger.”
He added that the project and related businesses will help address supply chain and inflation issues that have plagued many industries across the country.
“Goods produced halfway around the world or across the country have to be stored somewhere, and we don’t have enough storage,” McGovern said. “When items are shipped directly to a business or store, once the store runs out of any item, they again have to rely on shipments from around the world or domestically and there may be a lag . time. ”
According to a press release from the City of Douglas, the project will extend sewer service from its current end point on Gilboa Street to a large warehouse development on Lackey Dam Road in Uxbridge, create a sewer service connection for a planned warehouse between Gilboa and Northeast Main Streets, upgrade an old pumphouse to handle additional flows and upgrade water lines from Main Street to Northeast Main Street and along Northeast Main Street to the line town of Uxbridge.
The city also neared completion of a $3.3 million MassWorks-funded watermain expansion and upgrade project and has other infrastructure work in the application phase, for a total of $8.6 million in improvements. Private developers contributed $1.7 million and the city provided about $300,000 in engineering costs for the work, which is expected to be completed over the next two years.
The EDA grant comes with $828,313 in local funds, according to a press release from the agency.
“President Biden’s US bailout package offers direct help to American communities as they work to build a better America for the future,” said US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will help Douglas build a stronger and more robust local economy.”
McGovern said the work to secure the funding included essential assistance from the city and the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission.
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