NORTH ADAMS -- Western Gateway Heritage State Park will receive a facelift thanks to a $881,488 MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant announced by Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday.
The project to upgrade the park's entrance and landscaping and improve pedestrian access between the historic freight yard, downtown and Mass MoCA, was one of 26 projects selected from a total of 130 applications received by the MassWorks program this year.
"We're very pleased to receive this grant award," Mayor Richard J. Alcombright said Friday. "When we put in our application earlier this year, state Housing and Economic Development Sec. Greg Bialecki was very pleased we applied and said he was committed to this corner of the state."
The state awarded a total of $38 million in infrastructure grants Friday, targeting projects around the state requiring infrastructure upgrades or expansion in order for new growth to take place.
The city was one of two county municipalities to receive a grant. New Marlborough received $500,000 for the rehabilitation of Foley Bridge on Canaan Southfield Road.
"The MassWorks program is a key part of our growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure to create jobs and spur economic development," Patrick said in a release.
Alcombright said the city applied for a MassWorks grant after a visit by Victoria McGuire, state permit ombudsman for the state Department of Housing and Economic Development and director of the state permit regulatory agency, earlier this year.
"I asked her to come to the city to look at the Mohawk Theater and Heritage State Park," he said. "She came up and we discussed grant opportunities in respect to the park being privatized, along with the needs for improving parking, infrastructure and possibly burying power lines in the future."
At the time, the city was putting together its request for proposals for the privatization of the park and had already put together design plans for improvements to the park's buildings, landscaping and walkways.
Although the city was considering a proposal for the park from the Partnership for North Adams, Alcombright said the city is now holding onto the proposal as it has shifted gears.
"As we have been working with our consultants on the Mohawk Theater, it has become apparent that there is more of a possibility of capturing Historic and New Market tax credits with a combined project after the first of the year," he said. "We're trying hard to make both projects work ... This is the first big step in this process."