Economic development helps our communities in a number of ways. It raises the incomes of residents, increases the value of property, and raises revenues for local municipal services. The Legislature is able to assist economic development by a number of different avenues. It helps towns make investments that improve the market place of commercial districts, helps with infrastructure investments to support growth, and assists in finding financing options for businesses that wish to locate and expand in our communities. It also helps municipalities reduce their overhead and make transportation investments freeing up town resources for other services. Stan believes that the state should be assisting in all of these ways to help our local economies continue to grow and adapt and to help towns and cities stretch resources and make our communities places where we are all able to find security and happiness.
Stan has been a long-time supporter of tourism and recognizes its importance to the economic health of his district. He has encouraged regional cooperation among tourism organizations and in 2010 was able to have the Hampshire County Visitors Council officially designated as a state Regional Tourism Council, which entitles it to state funding. Stan recently obtained $4 million dollars for the Three County Fair to build the new horse barns which were recently opened. The horse barns are the first step in the long-term effort to turn the Three County Fairground into a four season event and fair location. In Franklin County, Stan helped keep the Great Falls Discovery Center project on track until it was finally opened.
Stan has been a longtime patron of the arts and believes the depth and availability of arts venues, performances, and creators has developed his district into a region renowned for its cultural experience. Stan was a prime advocate in creating the Cultural Facilities Capital Program which has benefited a number of the cultural facilities in his district. These include the Eric Carle Museum in South Amherst, which received funding, and accessibility improvements, and the Amherst Cinema, which created a modern multi-screen theater in downtown Amherst. Additionally, Stan was able to secure $2 million dollars to rehabilitate the Academy of Music in Northampton which needed numerous repairs.
Funding Local Improvements
Stan has supported the economic health of communities by supporting a number of initiatives that have reimbursed municipalities for making needed repairs or have supported significant infrastructure investments that were needed to support continued commercial and industrial growth.
Land, Landfills, and Underground Storage Tanks
Stan was the principle sponsor of the Underground Storage Tank program which reimburses towns who removed and replace underground fuel storage tanks, at no cost to the Commonwealth. He also advocated for parity during the Big Dig so that municipalities far from the Big Dig would also benefit financially from the free landfill materials that were available during the construction. This led to a new round of Landfill Capping Grants for towns that were conducting landfill closing and capping operations during that period.
Stan has also supported funding of conservation programs that allow towns to purchase and protect the land around reservoirs, wells and other important water resources. Among others, this was used by the Hatfield Conservation Commission to protect 131 acres around its water supply.
Stan assisted the Powers Institute in Bernardston, the South Hadley Senior Center, and the Hadley Senior Center in obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars to create senior centers. Stan has also been an advocate of funding the Library Building Program which has spent millions to improve libraries in his district including the Lilly Library in Northampton, Leverett, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Leyden, Montague, Greenfield, Pelham, New Salem, and Wendell. Additionally, other funding was used to remove architectural barriers and improve access at Leverett Town Hall and the Northfield Library.
Downtown improvements have a direct impact on making it more attractive to new business. Stan has supported and advocated for a number of downtown improvement projects including streetscape, lighting, façade, and sidewalk improvements in Greenfield, Shelburne, Buckland, Millers Falls, Erving, Turners Falls, and Northfield.
Stan advocated for grants and funds from the Massachusetts Historical Commission in order to rehabilitate the Crocker Building, the Cutlery Building, and the Shea Theater, into a mix of commercial and housing spaces in downtown Turners Falls.
Water & Sewer Infrastructure
Stan is a long-time supporter of local infrastructure projects such as improving and expanding the capacity of town water and sewer facilities. Some of these important projects include the Hadley pump station which led to the development of the University Park industrial park on North Maple Street.
Stan has been a special advocate for the Northampton State Hospital reuse project, and helped obtain funds to begin the rehabilitation. He helped to offset the costs of removing the Old Main Building when it proved unusable, as well as supporting a number of grant investments to build access roads and subsidize the conversion of the buildings into mixed income housing stock. The site is now well on its way to becoming a vibrant residential and industrial site.