By Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public AffairsNovember 19, 2012
NATICK Mass. (Nov. 19, 2012) -- When it comes to the future of the Natick Soldier Systems Center, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Natick may be about to provide a better road to success.
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray announced at Natick Town Hall, Nov. 19, that the roadway to the NSSC gates, Kansas Street, will receive $2.5 million in resurfacing and utility improvements. The street has experienced increased vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian volume in recent years as NSSC grew. The installation now has some 1,800 military and civilian employees and has an estimated economic impact of $4.4 billion.
"This is about jobs and economic development, but it's also supporting national security," Murray said. "The project will support upgrades to water, electrical utilities and address critical roadway infrastructure needs that will better connect downtown Natick with Route 9 and the (Massachusetts Turnpike). Improvements to Kansas Street will not only retain jobs but allow for a long-term planning effort for the continued expansion and support of New England's only active(-duty) Army base."
Murray added that the grant will help NSSC continue "the work of truly saving lives. Innovative technologies that give our servicemen and women advantages on the battlefield, whether it be equipment, clothing, shelter and food developed here, (go) right into the combat areas."
A $1.5 million grant from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program will be added to $1 million from the Commonwealth's previously released capitol plan to fund the project, one of 26 new MassWorks grants statewide totaling $38 million to "support economic development and housing creation throughout the commonwealth."
"The MassWorks Infrastructure Program grant highlighted this morning for Kansas Street infrastructure improvements will help Natick Soldier Systems Center carry on, for years to come, its vital mission for America's brave servicemen and women," said Jack Obusek, Ph.D., NSSC senior manager. "(Our mission is) really to protect and sustain America's sons and daughters when they're in uniform and put forward in harm's way."
"This grant will help pave the way -- literally and figuratively -- to a bright future for the Natick Soldier Systems Center as we work toward providing only the finest equipment for the American war fighter," he continued.
State Rep. David Linsky said that the project was a "great example" of federal, state and local government working together.
"The mission of the Soldier Systems (Center) is vital towards protecting the national defense and making sure that all of our Soldiers, wherever they are stationed around the world, have the best equipment possible," Linsky said. "It's a unique facility and it is an important facility."
"I think what we're going to hear today is an important demonstration of how at a municipal level and a state level and a federal level, we can come together on projects," said Paul Joseph, chairman of the Natick Board of Selectmen.
Maj. Gen. Scott Rice, acting adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, said he would welcome back 100 Guardsmen on Thanksgiving Day who had been deployed to Afghanistan. He added that NSSC helped get them all home.
"Every, single one of them is coming back on Thursday," said Rice, "thanks to the effort of somebody like (Obusek, who) runs an (installation) that provides for the safety of our Soldiers and Airmen when they're deployed."