Framingham anti-poverty agency gets money for new facility

An anti-poverty agency is developing a new facility in downtown Framingham and upgrading others with the help of new state financing.

MassDevelopment issued a $17.9 million tax exempt bond to support several projects by the South Middlesex Opportunity Council. The nonprofit council, headquartered at 7 Bishop St. in downtown Framingham, provides a variety of services to low-income residents in 10 communities.

One of the projects is the purchase of the Suburban Athletic Club building at 10-12 Roxanna St. and its conversion into a new South Framingham Community Center. SMOC acquired the building in February.

Renovations are set to begin in July and to be completed in October, according to Jim Cuddy, SMOC’s executive director. He said SMOC intends to lease a portion of the space to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metrowest to use as the new home of its Framingham branch, and another portion to the Framingham Police Athletic League.


Both organizations had leased space in the former Danforth Museum building, but need a new home because the city has closed that building. SMOC’s child care and Head Start programs, which have operated in the Suburban Athletic Club building, will continue there.

The bond proceeds also are helping to pay for improvements SMOC is making to several of its other downtown properties, and a portion will go to refinancing past debt. Middlesex Savings Bank purchased the bond, which MassDevelopment also enhanced with a mortgage insurance guarantee.

SMOC is actively raising funds to cover remaining costs of the building projects. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the city, MassDevelopment, and Middlesex Savings Bank to make these important projects happen,” Cuddy said.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.