Methuen Receives Downtown Housing Boost from State

Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni and Rep. Linda Dean Campbell.

Plans in the city of Methuen to create a “Smart Growth District” to meet housing needs in its downtown received a boost Tuesday from the Baker administration.

The state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) awarded a $25,000 Planning Assistance Toward Housing (PATH) grant to Methuen. It will assist in the creation of a 40R Smart Growth District, according to the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The Smart Growth District will enable dense, mixed-use development near existing infrastructure.

“I have been serving on a working group for Methuen’s downtown district and am particularly passionate about improving our downtown because of how this ties into my work on the Methuen Rail Trail,” Rep. Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) said in a statement. “Our downtown has tremendous potential because of its historic architecture and location in proximity to route 213 and I am excited to be a part of this process.”

The PATH program manages $600,000 in grant funding to help communities expand housing opportunities “through community-initiated activities on municipally-owned sites; through changes to land use and zoning; through planning for housing and mixed-use development in specific geographic areas; and through the implementation of strategies identified in DHCD-approved Housing Production Plans.”

“PATH grants help cities and towns identify and meet local needs, preparing our communities for the future,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “By helping communities direct their own growth, through increased multi-family housing opportunities, these grants will help create sustained job growth and economic development.”

DCHD Tuesday also awarded $15,000 PATH grants each to Gloucester and Brookline to create “Housing Production Plans.” Those plans will help those cities “proactively meet their housing needs, while retaining local control over housing development,” according to a spokesperson.