The massive spending bill is now in Gov. Charlie Baker’s hands, and area legislators are optimistic he will sign it this week.
The money will be deployed to address needs in communities across the commonwealth in areas such as health care, affordable housing, federally mandated MBTA safety improvements and other programs and projects.
The bill failed to pass before the legislative session ended on July 31, but sailed through an informal session in one day without objections from either the House or Senate chamber.
Initiatives that are in the newly passed legislation include $250,000 sponsored by state Sen. Ed Kennedy, D-Lowell, for a mattress recycling social enterprise program operated by Lowell-based UTEC. Lowell and organizations within the city will receive a total of more than $3 million, including $2 million for Lowell High School athletic fields and $500,000 for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust for the Rollie’s Farm conservation project.
But the biggest ticket locally is the $8 million headed to Littleton to support the town’s partnership with developer Sal Lupoli to transform the former IBM campus into King Street Common, a large-scale, mixed-use development.
Spending highlights of the bill include nearly $1.4 billion for health and human services. This money will provide $350 million for fiscally strained hospitals, $200 million to support COVID-19 public health response efforts, $100 million for community health centers and $25 million for food security, among other areas.
The spending bill targets $540 million for clean energy and environment, $410 million for affordable housing and more than $500 million for economic development, workforce and education.
State Rep. James Arciero secured funding for Chelmsford to address needs from playgrounds to PFAS remediation in the town’s water supply.
“PFAS is a national issue that affects the environment and can have detrimental effects on general human health,” Arciero said. “This funding is necessary to making sure we are combating this serious issue and providing safe, clean drinking water for every resident of the Commonwealth.”
In Tewksbury, state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, successfully filed an amendment to allocate $75,000 to the Tewksbury Fire Department to cover costs associated with services at Tewksbury State Hospital and $250,000 to create 21 permanent veterans’ housing units with wraparound services including job training programs, mental health and substance abuse stabilization services and other supports to help end veterans’ homelessness.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect our community, and I will do everything I can to make sure that local fire departments have the funding they deserve,” Finegold said. “I’m proud to have partnered with Soldier On and local leaders to secure crucial funding for Soldier On’s housing development in Tewksbury, and I can’t wait to see this project come to fruition.”
Here’s some of the other funds area communities are due to receive:
• Ashby: $200,000 for costs related to the fire on Log Cabin Road.
• Billerica: $125,000 for public safety equipment; the town is also included in the $200,000 to Arlington-based Food Link to address food insecurity.
• Chelmsford: $150,000 for improvements to the playing field and playground equipment at Varney playground; $150,000 for an excessive wastewater flow system; $250,000 for the operation of a PFAS remediation system; $200,000 to support the operations of the Chelmsford Center for the Arts.
• Dracut: $100,000 for local economic recovery efforts; $25,000 for the Dracut Food Pantry.
• Dunstable: $75,000 for the reconstruction of the bandstand and gazebo.
• Fitchburg: $125,000 for traffic signal infrastructure and drainage improvements at the intersections of Lunenburg, Main and Summer streets; $125,000 for the completion of a climate mitigation project and the construction of a performing stage at Riverfront Park; $150,000 for downtown housing production; $750,000 to the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority for property redevelopment and downtown revitalization; $75,000 to the Montachusett Community Branch YMCA for infrastructure improvements.
• Gardner: $2 million for the Montachusett Veterans’ Outreach Center, Inc. for the building or acquisition of additional housing units.
• Lancaster: $500,000 to Robert F. Kennedy Community Alliance, Inc. for the development of a clinically focused, multiuse mental health treatment and clinician training site.
• Lowell: $50,000 to cover operational costs associated with providing medical interpreter services at the Lowell Community Health Center; $100,000 for Cambodia Town Lowell to form an Asian-American business support division to provide education and training to minority-owned businesses. The Greater Lowell Community Foundation will also receive $225,000 for community programs and $200,000 for the Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative.
• Lunenburg: $100,000 for hazardous materials abatement and demolition of the old Primary School building.
• Pepperell: $500,000 for the development of a food hub and commercial kitchen at the location of the former Peter Fitzpatrick school.
• Tewksbury: $150,000 for design, survey, site preparation and construction of a disc golf course, parking and walking trails; $150,000 for the Front-Line Initiative to explore innovative ways to expand its services.
• Tyngsboro: $100,000 for local economic recovery efforts.
• Westford: $25,000 for Westford Community Access Television for production and programming.
• Westminster: $200,000 for the revitalization of the downtown Village Center area and improvements to create a more walkable, business-friendly and aesthetically accommodating Main Street.
• Wilmington: $150,000 for design, survey, site preparation and construction of walking paths, bridges and other outdoor spaces along the Middlesex canal and open space; $75,000 for athletic field improvements.
The bill also provides $100,000 for the development of a faculty education institute at William James College, in collaboration with the state Behavioral Health Advisory Commission, UMass Amherst, Middlesex Community College and other public higher education institutions “to prepare a comprehensive plan to train Massachusetts college and university faculty and staff in mental health first aid and social emotional education techniques to increase the quality of campus mental health.”