Included in an economic development bill recently passed by the Massachusetts Legislature were several amendments to support projects across the Merrimack Valley.
Among the investments secured is funding to support a Methuen Youth and Community Center, with resources for facilities, staffing and programming. State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has made the establishment of a formal youth and community center in Methuen one of her top priorities, including participating in a 159-mile March Across Massachusetts in fall 2020 to raise awareness and support for the project. DiZoglio has noted that Methuen is among the few communities in the Merrimack Valley that does not have such a center like many surrounding cities and towns.
“While we still have a ways to go, this crucial investment will bring us one step closer to making the dream of a Methuen Youth and Community Center a reality,” said DiZoglio. “Together, we will have the opportunity to provide our youth with mentorship opportunities and social and emotional learning to inspire them to pursue their talents and reach their goals.”
The bill includes an additional investment for the City of Methuen, with resources toward greenspace for community events and increased parking capacity at Greycourt Park. Also secured are funds toward the City of Amesbury, specifically for the design and construction of improvements to downtown urban pedestrian spaces, and the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce.
The City of Haverhill will receive funds toward the transformation of the old Dutton Airfield into a new business park off Route 110, as well as resources around economic recovery and to help support Haverhill’s Merrimack Street development project, establishing new residential, commercial, and retail space, a parking garage, and other public amenities. The bill also includes funding to support a feasibility study around the building of a new MBTA commuter rail station in the Town of North Andover.
“Our cities and towns need every possible resource as they embark on greatly needed projects,” said DiZoglio. “That is why I am so grateful we were able to secure these funds, with unanimous support, toward important projects in our communities that are designed to bolster the local economy and overall quality of living.”
“I am grateful to Senator DiZoglio for securing these funds for the City of Amesbury,” said Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove.
Enhancing our urban pedestrian spaces in downtown will provide additional safety and accessibility for our residents and visitors and will further support a vibrant economy for our small businesses.”
“We are thrilled to be awarded these funds to support improvements to our downtown development projects, industrial parks, and additional local recovery funds for our small businesses,” said Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini. “All of these projects are vital to Haverhill’s continued success, and we are grateful for the leadership and support by Senator DiZoglio who helped champion these critically important funding elements in the final economic development bill.”
“We are so thankful to our legislative partners for continuing to lobby for projects that make North Andover the best place to live and work,” said North Andover Town Manager Melissa Rodrigues. “This feasibility study will allow us to gauge our current transportation gaps and plan for the future of improved transit options for our region.”
“I’m proud to have secured funding for important housing and economic development projects across the Merrimack Valley,” said State Senator Barry Finegold (D-Andover), who successfully filed amendments to the Legislature’s bill to allocate $150,000 for revitalizing six pocket parks in Amesbury’s downtown, $250,000 for redeveloping the old Dutton Airfield in Haverhill into a new business park, and additional funding for a series of other community projects.
“Right now, we are seeing a development boom across the Merrimack Valley, and the Legislature’s bill makes crucial investments to further strengthen our local economy. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Gove, Mayor Fiorentini, my colleagues in the state delegation, town managers, and other local leaders to expand economic opportunities throughout the region.”
“This is the largest one-time investment in Haverhill’s downtown issued during my tenure,” said State Representative Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill). “This funding will aid a transformational project for our downtown, creating sorely needed housing and opportunities for jobs and businesses. This is coupled with funding to aid our downtown’s economic recovery, and funding to develop a vacant and unkept airfield. Haverhill’s best days are still ahead.”
“This legislation will have an important economic impact on Methuen, Haverhill, and the Merrimack Valley, attracting new development that will make our communities more vibrant places to live, work, and visit,” said State Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen). “I was proud to secure $500,000 to improve access to Greycourt State Park in Methuen, and I am proud that the teamwork of our state delegation continues to deliver for our region.” ◊