• Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, Natick Soldier Systems Center senior commander, center, and other officials shovel dirt during the June 16 ceremonial groundbreaking for the $2.5 million improvements to Kansas Street.

    Groundbreaking held for Kansas Street improvements

    Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, Natick Soldier Systems Center senior commander, center, and other officials shovel dirt during the June 16 ceremonial groundbreaking for the $2.5 million improvements to Kansas Street.

  • Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, Natick Soldier Systems Center senior commander, speaks during the June 16 groundbreaking ceremony for the $2.5 million improvements to be made to Kansas Street.

    Groundbreaking held for Kansas Street improvements

    Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, Natick Soldier Systems Center senior commander, speaks during the June 16 groundbreaking ceremony for the $2.5 million improvements to be made to Kansas Street.

NATICK, Mass. (June 16, 2014) -- A groundbreaking ceremony was held June 16 for improvements that will be made to Kansas Street, the roadway that leads to the Natick Soldier Systems Center gates.

The $2.5 million, state-funded construction project includes resurfacing and utility improvements that should aid traffic flow to and from NSSC.

"One of the very first questions I got at my first town hall was, 'When is Kansas Street going to get fixed?'" recalled Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, NSSC senior commander. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, finally, we can say that that day has arrived."

Cole pointed out that the project has been in the works for years and that "great partnerships" made the groundbreaking possible in this cooperative effort between the Town of Natick, the Commonwealth Massachusetts, and NSSC.

"A couple of years ago, we designed a master plan for the Soldier Systems Center to chart our way into the future," Cole said. "We shared that master plan with the Town of Natick. The design of this Kansas Street project that we're about to kick off, done by the town, complements the master plan that we have inside the base."

Josh Ostroff, chairman of the Town of Natick Board of Selectmen, served as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking.

"Kansas Street is about a third of a mile long, but it has a long history," Ostroff said. "(NSSC) is a facility where brains and brawn come together."

Marty Jones, president and chief executive officer of MassDevelopment, alluded to a 2012 analysis that put the overall annual economic impact of NSSC at $4.4 billion.

"Today, we celebrate a milestone on Kansas Street that provides access to an invaluable resource that empowers, equips and feeds warfighters who defend our freedoms," Jones said.

Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, pointed out that NSSC is the only active-duty Army installation in New England.

"And that's pretty important, because the work that they do hits all sorts of people," Rice said. "Not only does it hit, as you can clearly see, the U.S. Army … but they even impact every member of the U.S. military."

In closing his remarks, Cole made reference to the potholes and frost heaves that have greeted drivers in recent years as they approached NSSC.

"On behalf of the Natick Soldier Systems Center workforce, and also on behalf of their shock absorbers and tires on their vehicles," said Cole, "I'd like to thank you for bringing this project to the finish line."

Page last updated Mon June 16th, 2014 at 00:00