On behalf of the City of Malden (City), the Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) is currently managing three grants from the Gaming Commission that fund an array of planning and transportation activities. They are as follows:
2016 Malden Transportation Planning Grant – Downtown Parking Facilities Assessment & Pedestrian/Bicycle Safety Improvements Study
In 2016 the City received a $100,000 Transportation Planning Grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission for a downtown Malden parking facilities assessment and pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements study. The study will determine downtown parking adequacy & pricing, evaluate parking structure conditions and potential enhancements, examine the redevelopment of public surface parking lots, and identify potential modifications to improve efficiency, safety, and urban design. On behalf of the City, the MRA advertised a request for proposals for this study in July 2017. An internal screening committee, made up of representatives from the City and the MRA, interviewed and ranked each of the responders and determined Weston and Sampson to be the most advantageous proposal. In November 2017, the MRA Board of Directors authorized the Executive Director to enter the MRA into a contract with Weston and Sampson to complete this study. The contract is expected to be finalized by March 2018.
2016 Malden Reserve Fund Community Mitigation Grant
In October 2016, the MRA was awarded a $100,000 Community Mitigation Reserve Fund Grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. This funds the following activities:
Senior Planner and Policy Manager / Commercial Street Corridor Framework Plan
The MRA utilized a portion of these grant funds to hire the MRA’s Senior Planner and Policy Manager to undertake planning activities aimed at reinvigorating Malden’s commercial districts in anticipation of the opening and operation of the Wynn resort. As part of this role, the Senior Planner is working with MassDevelopment on the Commercial Street Corridor Framework Plan. This is a comprehensive area plan and economic analysis for the Commercial Street Corridor. The final plan will define strategies to guide new development, support job retention and creation, remediate existing environmental conditions, improve access to the Malden River, and enhance open space. This plan includes both short- and long-term approaches for future economic development. The study is expected to be completed by in March 2018.
Marketing and Community Engagement
Using funds from this grant, the MRA is also working with the City to undertake a casino-centered comprehensive marketing program to support Malden businesses and a citizen’s engagement program to promote employment opportunities for Malden citizens. The City held its first engagement program event in June 2017. The event highlighted the job opportunities soon to be available at Wynn Boston Harbor. Approximately 200 people attended this event. The MRA and the Office of Mayor Gary Christenson are now planning a second event to engage Malden businesses with Wynn Boston Harbor as potential food and beverage vendors. The event is scheduled for March 22, 2018.
2017 Malden Transportation Planning Grant – Exchange Street Downtown Improvement Project
In August 2017, the MRA secured $150,000 in funding through a Massachusetts Gaming Commission Transportation Planning Grant to fund the redesign of Exchange Street. This project will redesign and reconstruct Exchange Street to modern “complete streets” standards. The project will improve access and safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles. This project will include pavement resurfacing, new sidewalks, sidewalk extensions, and compliant sidewalk ramps, high visibility crosswalks, a bike lane, bike racks, pedestrian-scale lighting, trees, landscaping, and signage.
The MRA, on behalf of the City, is managing the Exchange Street Downtown Improvement Project. The MRA is using the services of Stantec, its contracted on-call engineering services company, to complete the survey, road safety audit, and design process. The survey was completed in late 2017 and the road safety audit meeting was held January 2018.
MassDOT determined that the Exchange Street project is eligible for federal construction funding. The MRA will continue to work with the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization to see the project included in the region’s Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP). Inclusion in the TIP is a requirement for federal funding. Moving forward with the design of this project increases the possibility that the project will be included.