July 10th Information & Resources Update
Small Business Strong: A Resource for Women & Minority Owned Small Businesses During COVID-19

Small Business Strong is a private and public sector partnership set up to help women and minority owned small businesses navigate the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Small Business Strong: " We recognize that our 650,000 Massachusetts small businesses are the lifeblood of our towns, cities and communities. Small Business Strong provides expedited, pro-bono resources to small businesses ranging from access to capital to consulting, business restructuring, business growth, digital marketing and customer engagement plans."

How Small Business Strong works: Massachusetts women and minority owned small business owners can participate by engaging in one or more of the core elements of Small Business Strong, all free of charge with no strings attached:
  1. An online portal with curated content and resources for small businesses
  2. Business Advisors who will initially consult with small businesses (SMBs) to understand the impact of COVID-19 and provide general guidance and resources
  3. Functional Specialists who who will provide more specialized support and deliverables

Design Public Hearing on 495/90 Interchange Improvements Project Published; Comments Now Being Accepted

A Design Public Hearing Webinar has been published on the MassDOT website to present the design for the proposed I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements project in Hopkinton and Westborough. The hearing is an approximately 25-minute video presentation, available at this link. Comments are being accepted through July 23rd.
The purpose of this hearing webinar is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements project. All views and comments submitted in response to the webinar will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.

The proposed project consists of reconstruction of the I-495/I-90 Interchange in Hopkinton and Westborough. Once the project has been completed, the I-495/I-90 interchange will feature new direct connection ramps, grade separated ramps, improved acceleration and deceleration lanes, an auxiliary lane from I-495 Northbound to Route 9, a new Fruit Street Bridge and new I-495 bridge over I-90 and the rail lines.

Written comments and other exhibits regarding the proposed undertaking must be postmarked no later than July 23rd, and can be submitted to:

Patricia A. Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Attention: Highway Division, Project File No.607977

Comments may also be submitted via email to: [email protected].

MassDEP Re-Opening Public Comment Period for Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has announced that it is accepting additional public comments on its Draft 2020-2030 Solid Waste Master Plan.

MassDEP issued its draft plan for public comment in Fall 2019 and received extensive comments over the course of five hearings. Input received proposed that more engagement with Environmental Justice communities would be beneficial, given the environmental burdens these communities experience. In response to these comments and the changed landscape due to COVID-19, MassDEP decided to reopen the public comment period. The new comment period will focus specifically, but not exclusively, on issues of environmental justice, climate change, and the impacts of COVID-19 pertaining to the management of solid waste in the Commonwealth.

The public comment period will close on September 15, 2020.

During this period, MassDEP will offer four public hearings to engage with stakeholders and seek input; these public hearings will be conducted online and via telephone. The dates and call-in information for the public hearings are as follows; click the respective hyperlinks to register:

Written comments can be submitted electronically to [email protected] or by mail to: John Fischer, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, 1 Winter Street, Boston, MA 02108.  
Paycheck Protection Program Application Deadline Extended

The deadline for applying for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan has been extended to August 8th. As of the previous deadline, June 30th, approximately $130 billion in PPP funding remained available. More information about eligibility, applications, and forgiveness is available at the Small Business Administration's (SBA) website.

The SBA also recently released an updated application form for PPP borrowers seeking loan forgiveness. The new Loan Forgiveness Application can be accessed online here.
Biweekly MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

These discussions are open to any interested party, and are held every other Wednesday at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The next session will be held on July 22nd; click here to sign up!

  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, the 495/Metro West Partnership
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at [email protected] .

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership