Funds Will Help Make Safety Improvements in Dedham Square
Dedham, MA , October 20, 2010 - The Town of Dedham and the Dedham Square Circle (DSC) announced today that the Town has been awarded a $1.3 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The grant will be used to fund Phase I of the Dedham Square Improvement Project, a $6 million project that will make safety and aesthetic upgrades in Dedham’s historic town center.
“It has been over fifty years since there has been any public investment in Dedham Square,” said Amy Haelsen, Executive Director of the Dedham Square Circle, a civic organization aimed at revitalizing Dedham Square. “These long overdue safety and aesthetic improvements will draw more visitors and more business to Dedham Square, helping to maintain its economic vitality,” said Haelsen. “Improving the Square will benefit the entire Town by encouraging private investment, securing property values and enhancing the quality of life for all residents.”
The Patrick-Murray Administration this year launched the MassWorks Infrastructure Program as a one-stop shop for municipalities seeking public infrastructure funding. The program consolidates six existing infrastructure programs, including the Public Works Economic Development (PWED) grant program Dedham initially sought.
The quest for the PWED was initiated in 2007 by DSC co-founders and Dedham Square business owners, Peter H. Reynolds and Rep. Paul McMurtry, months before McMurtry was elected as State Representative. DSC launched the organization’s “Engineering the Future Campaign and raised $25,000 in private donations in less than two months to fund the cost of an engineering study required for the PWED grant application. Later that year, DSC enlisted the services of landscape architect firm Gates-Leighton to conduct the study and to help organize two public input meetings in 2008 to solicit ideas and suggestions from the community on how to improve Dedham Square. Throughout the process, DSC worked closely with the Town to develop the design plans that were submitted with the PWED application.
“Our continued private-public partnership with the Town has been has been one of the key factors in generating the positive momentum for this project,” said Haelsen. “Dedham Square Circle has been involved every step of the way and we look forward to our continued collaboration with the Town to see this project through to its successful completion.”
"This is terrific news for the Town of Dedham, and we appreciate the state's support in reaching this important goal," said Dedham Town Administrator Bill Keegan. “This project is a textbook example of how so many people working together can bring something this important to the forefront of reality. The Dedham Square Circle is to be congratulated for their persistence and diligence in developing the grassroots support for this project and for carrying through on their commitment of improving the safety and quality of experience that residents and visitors will soon have in Dedham Square.”
"This award underscores our belief that a healthy downtown leads to a stronger, more vibrant community," said Sarah MacDonald, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "The MassWorks program will not only bring jobs, it allows the town to push toward continued redevelopment in Dedham Square. We applaud Governor Patrick, Lt Gov Murray, Secretary Bialecki and Secretary Mullan for their commitment to truly local, sustainable economic development initiatives like ours."
The Dedham Square Circle is a 501 C 3 non-profit organization committed to invigorating Dedham Square by increasing its economic prosperity, promoting its rich history, arts and culture, and aesthetically enhancing the Square's physical environment to benefit the entire community. To learn more about the organization’s efforts to improve Dedham Square, visit www.dedhamsquarecircle.org.