Easthampton lands $2 million climate resiliency grant

  • Poster at an event held on East Green Street in Easthampton with Gov. Charlie Baker and others to announce grant funding for climate adaptation projects. The posters show the work on Cherry Street that is happening with some of these funds. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks at an event on East Green Street in Easthampton to announce grant funding for green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects Tuesday. Behind her is Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle . STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito speaks at an event on East Green Street in Easthampton announcing grant funding for green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects Tuesday, August 31, 2021. To her left is Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and Gov. Charlie Baker. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle speaks at an event on East Green Street in Easthampton announcing grant funding for green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Behind her is Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Poster at an event held on East Green Street in Easthampton with Gov. Charlie Baker and others to announce grant funding for climate adaptation projects. The posters show the work on Cherry Street that is happening with some of these funds. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at an event on East Green Street in Easthampton announcing grant funding for green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. To his left is Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Gov. Charlie Baker speaks at an event on East Green Street in Easthampton announcing grant funding for green infrastructure and climate adaptation projects Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. To his left is Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/31/2021 8:25:52 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Easthampton has been awarded a $2 million grant that will allow for significant improvements to Cherry Street, as part of a climate change resiliency grant program that Gov. Charlie Baker highlighted in a visit to the city Tuesday.

The Municipal Vulnerability and Preparedness Action Grant will go toward green infrastructure, centered on replacing the deteriorating outfall off Cherry Street. This will include restoring the streambank and stabilizing the Cherry Street outfall, reconstructing the Cherry Street Roadway, and building new sidewalks.

“It will both make the city more resilient to increased precipitation due to climate change and also increase safety and accessibility to resources,” Baker said.

The Municipal Vulnerability and Preparedness program provides funding for communities to plan for climate change resiliency and implement projects. The program started in 2017 and 93% of communities in the state currently participate in the program.

“This work takes so many great partnerships,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides, who joined Baker and other local and state officials in the city Tuesday.

Communities that are certified as Municipal Vulnerability and Preparedness communities are eligible for grants under the program. Baker joked about wanting a list of the 7% of communities that aren’t participating in the program so he can call them up and ask why.

“We’re going to get all of the communities to participate,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chimed in.

A total of approximately $21 million in funding, spread out over 82 different awards, was announced at Tuesday’s event, a doubling of the program’s budget since last year.

Aside from Easthampton, other area communities that received funding include Belchertown, which received $480,025 for its Stormwater Flood Reduction and Climate Resilience Capital Improvement Plan; Conway, which received $191,200 for its South River Flood Resiliency Project: South Hadley, which received $125,000 for its Queensville Dam Removal Feasibility Study and Buttery Brook Watershed Enhancement; and Springfield, which received $2 million. Huntington also received $38,000 to complete the program’s planning process.

“Including this year’s funding, the program has now invested over $65 million in communities across the commonwealth,” Baker said.

In his remarks, Baker noted the historically wet summer that Massachusetts has experienced, and he acknowledged the impact of Hurricane Ida on Louisiana, where he said he knows many people.

“We need to continue to invest aggressively both in our mitigation strategies and our resiliency efforts as well,” he said.

The governor also pitched a bill before the Legislature that he filed in June that would spend about $2.9 billion in American Rescue Plan Act money to fund “immediate needs and opportunities,” $300 million of which would go to climate-resilient infrastructure. The bill remains before the Legislature.

Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle said the city has a long history of obtaining grants to benefit its residents, while members of the area’s legislative delegation also spoke at Tuesday’s event, including state Rep. Daniel Carey, D-Easthampton, and state Sen. John Velis, D-Westfield, who represents Easthampton.

“You are looking at your government working for you,” Velis said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy