The town of Easton will benefit from legislation passed last week that included $37.95 million in infrastructure funds for shovel-ready projects - $1 million of which would be dedicated to Easton's downtown.
“This kind of investment in our towns and our infrastructure is how we can responsibly move Massachusetts forward economically,” State Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) said in a statement. “Today is a good day for the residents of Easton.”
Town Administrator David Colton said the money would be used for improvements to main street, such as the burrial of wires, improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks, planting trees, and parking improvements.
Colton said $75,000 of the town's capital budget, which was approved at Town Meeting last spring, was used to construct architectural plans for the project. The plans were submitted with the grant application and
"It’s great news," he said. "We’re very happy. It’s going to enable us to do a really nice job down there in North Easton village; to revitalize it and change its appearance."
Board of Selectmen Chair Colleen Corona said it was important to secure the grant now so the project would be in correlation with the Ames Shovelworks Project, a public/private partnership with Beacon Development to restore the Shovelwork buildings on Oliver Street and the subsequent which will serve approximately 70 parcels in North Easton Village.
"This is a great time to tie everything together and do everything at once because we’re going to be digging up the road anyways," she said. "It’s the perfect opportunity."
Colton said the Shovelworks project is expected to break ground "in the next couple of months" and he hopes construction on Main Street will be underway by this time next year.
Before breaking ground on Main Street however, he will look for input from nearby residents and business owners.
"All we’ve really done are designs to a really conceptual level," he said. "We really need to go through a public process first. We need to make decisions like what kind of sidewalks we want to see and make sure everyone understands what the ultimate product is going to be. We’ve still got a ways to go."
Between the newly acquired on Oliver Street which will serve as conservation land, the Shovelworks project and the wastewater treatment plant, both Colton and Corona are excited for upcoming development in the area.
"It’s incredible news for Easton," Corona said. "We’ve been so fortunate with this project to be able to tie all of these projects together and make significant streetscape improvements to Main Street, which is what that business area needs, so we’re thrilled."