Inbox [Oct. 16]: Worcester Airport lands $7.7M grant, new program aims to help homeless young adults, Main South athletic field debuts, Clark researcher nets more funding for economic-environmental research

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Worcester Airport receives $7.7 million to help increase capacity

U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern announced a $7,749,620 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Worcester Regional Airport. The new federal funding will support additional taxiway construction and will help Massport to continue its work to grow the Worcester airport and increase its capacity to serve Central Massachusetts travelers.

Worcester Regional Airport

Wikimedia Commons/Terageorge

Worcester Regional Airport

“Keeping our region’s economy growing starts with strong investments in infrastructure. Worcester Regional Airport is key to making Central Massachusetts a destination for businesses and this grant will help us continue our work to bring new jobs to the region,” said McGovern, a Worcester Democrat.

“This new funding will help to strengthen and increase Worcester Airport’s capacity by supporting additional taxiway construction so that we can serve more passengers and business travelers. Massport has been a strong partner in our continued push to put Worcester Airport on the map and I look forward to continuing this exciting work.”

The extra capacity may very well come in handy, as Rectrix Aviation is planning daily Worcester to Baltimore flights “within the next year,” according to the Telegram & Gazette.

“As the Commonwealth continues to see growth across the state, we at Massport are committed to ensuring that our gateways for the global economy – our airports – work to meet the needs of residents and visitors alike,” Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn said. “This federal funding would not have been possible without the work of Congressman McGovern and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation and I thank them for this important investment.”

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern

Office of Congressman Jim McGovern

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern

Read the entire story on Congressman McGovern’s website

New program to help Worcester area young homeless adults

Alongside its community and state partners, including The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, the South Middlesex Opportunity Council announced the launch of the Transition Aged Youth program to combat homelessness among Worcester area transition-aged youth, ages 18-24.

Young adults comprise a growing segment of the homeless population not only in Worcester, but across Massachusetts and the United States.

“Right around the start of the ‘great recession,’ the social services agencies throughout Massachusetts starting seeing a surge of unaccompanied homeless young adults,” said Janice B. Yost, president and CEO of HFCM. “Homelessness is associated with the economy, but it’s not the only reason that young people become homeless. In the case of young adults, it could be because of a bad situation in the home — maybe there’s been abuse or neglect, or addicted parents or maybe they were ordered out of the home just because [the parents] couldn’t afford to support them any longer.”

Yost noted that most chronically homeless adults began as homeless youth. “The idea is that if, through the services we provide them through TAY, we can set these young adults on a path to economic independence, then perhaps we can stop the slide into chronic homelessness.”

Other community partners working alongside SMOC and HFCM include: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance, the City of Worcester, RCAP Solutions, Brandeis University and others.

Kilby-Gardner-Hammond athletic field and track open

Main South Community Development Corporation, the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester and Clark University are celebrating the completion of a new field and track.

Opening the new field marks the culmination of the Kilby-Gardner-Hammond project, begun in the late 1990s. The project so far comprises more than 100 new housing units, the $9.2 million Boys & Girls Club, and the new, $3 million field and track. This facility will be used by Clark University for intercollegiate, club, intramural and recreation sports. It will also be shared with the Boys & Girls Club, giving the young people there an essential outdoor play space.

“This new field and track will expand access to green spaces for local families and give kids new opportunities for outdoor recreation and positive after-school activities,” U.S. Congressman James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, said. “The successful completion of this project is another strong step toward a rejuvenated Main South.

“I was proud to help bring federal dollars back to our district to invest in the bike path around the track. and I am grateful to work with such great partners in the City, Clark University, the Boys & Girls Club and the Main South Community Development Corporation to help us revitalize this neighborhood,” he said. “Together, we are building a strong and vibrant community for all of our families.”

“This field represents just the latest in a long history of successful partnering between Clark and our neighbors in Main South,” said Clark University President David Angel. “The investments of our community along with city, state and federal agencies, private investment and development firms have resulted in a successful revitalization project sure to benefit all.”

“We’re thrilled to cut the ribbon and officially help Clark University open their new collegiate field, located next to our Harrington Clubhouse,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Liz Hamilton said. “This field will create opportunities for our kids we’ve never been able to provide in the past. We’re extremely appreciative of Clark for allowing our Club to utilize the field to offer sports such as snowshoeing, lacrosse, track, and flag football.”

With $2M in grants, Clark researcher uses economics to aid environmental sustainability

As part of a new $800,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, Robert Johnston, director of Clark University’s George Perkins Marsh Institute, is leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers that will develop new methods to quantify the value of water quality improvements to the public, focusing on rivers and streams in the Northeast.

July 10-Clark logo

The award is part of a major EPA program to better understand the value of water quality improvements across the United States, and is one of only six awards nationwide.

Johnston will be developing survey-based approaches to quantify difficult-to-measure non-use values, along with the more palpable benefits and uses of clean water to the public — such as values related to uses of water for drinking and recreation. “This project will develop methods that provide more accurate and valid estimates of value of water quality improvements to the U.S. public,” he said.

The grant joins several other recent major awards for Johnston: nearly $279,000 from the NOAA Climate Program Office and $378,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for two coordinated projects to help coastal communities protect salt marshes as sea levels rise; about $140,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, part of a $498,000, three-year project with the University of Delaware to survey farmers about incentive programs to plant cover crops that improve soil and slow agricultural runoff; and a $416,000, three-year grant from the NSF (part of a larger $1.6 million grant with the City University of New York) to develop ways to encourage homeowners to adopt more environmentally sustainable lawn-care practices.

Read the entire story on the Clark University website

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