NATICK - The state has awarded the town and The MathWorks a $1 million MORE grant to help pay for infrastructure improvements necessary for the company's expansion at Apple Hill that could lead to 600 high-paying jobs.
The state has awarded the town and The MathWorks a $1 million MORE grant to help pay for infrastructure improvements necessary for the company's expansion at Apple Hill that could lead to 600 high-paying jobs.
"We're very appreciative of the state's contribution as we evaluate this critical project," acting Town Administrator Martha White said of the news.
The grant was one of 21 announced yesterday by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. Totaling $76.2 million, the grants are intended to help towns improve infrastructure so they can support companies looking to expand and add jobs.
In total, 38 communities applied with corporate partners for MORE Jobs grant funding, but not all of them made the cut.
The MathWorks, which makes technical computing software, wants to add a new four-story building, demolish a one-story structure, build a new parking garage and add a floor to an existing garage on its current spread at Apple Hill to support its proposed job growth. Natick's Planning Board has told the company its development cannot produce conditions "substantially more detrimental" to neighbors if it wants a permit.
The company already employs 1,200 of its 1,600 total work force in Natick, and residents have organized a campaign to prevent expansion that would worsen traffic on Rte. 9 and their neighborhoods without extensive infrastructure improvements.
The town and company had applied May 1 for $17 million from the Massachusetts Opportunity Relocation and Expansion Jobs program to help pay for $19 million in improvements to support the project. The proposed improvements include a bridge over Rte. 9 and work toward fixing the Rte. 9-Oak Street and routes 9-27 intersections, among other things.
The state responded to Natick officials, saying the town and company had asked for too much. The co-applicants responded by asking for $10 million.
The $1 million MORE Jobs grant awarded to the town and company may not be close to the money requested, but it is only one potential source of funding for the project. Improvements to Rte. 9 bigger than this project's scope are needed, and may attract other sources of funding, officials have said.
"There are large transportation infrastructure needs here, and the MORE grant infrastructure program is not meant to fully fund those needs," said Kofi Jones, a spokeswoman for the executive office. "It can be a good jumping-off point toward getting the project moving in the right direction."
Evergreen Solar Inc., a Marlborough company that had plans to build a solar panel plant in nearby Westborough, also received a $10 million MORE grant. Kofi Jones, a spokeswoman for Patrick's economic development office, said Evergreen Solar has now moved its project to a site at the former Fort Devens because there was too much of a slope at the Westborough site.
Among other local recipients of a MORE Jobs grant yesterday were The Gutierrez Co. in Marlborough, which received $10 million for a wastewater treatment plant; and exercise-equipment maker Cybex International Inc., which received $3.1 million for infrastructure work in Medway.
(Andrew J. Manuse can be reached at email@example.com or 508-626-3964.)