The state House of Representatives Wednesday approved its version of spending plans, giving more than $300,000 in earmarks for Haverhill projects ranging from YMCA and Boys and Girls Club building plans to a new fountain at Gale Park.
Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas said the spending plan for the year that begins July 1 gives Haverhill Public Schools an extra $8.9 million in state aid over the current year and, in his words, “does not raise taxes, and includes monumental investments in childcare, housing, workforce development and education.”
“We are so grateful for the continued support of Rep. Vargas and more specifically for the integral role he played in facilitating the $50,000 funding for a Capital Feasibility Study to explore the possibility of a much-needed new YMCA facility in Haverhill,” said YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller.” She added, “Our health and wellness, camp and childcare programs are a critical resource to the Haverhill community and this feasibility study will further show the importance of investing in a new state-of-the-art Y facility that the people of Haverhill so deserve.”
If the plan is ultimately approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, $30,000 would also be awarded to the Haverhill Boys & Girls Club Capital Campaign for a new building.
“The recent earmark secured by Rep. Vargas will help improve our efforts in enhancing our program offerings to over 200 youth in the Haverhill Community. We thank him and his team for their commitment to helping build great futures,” said Javier Bristol, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill.
Specifically, $50,000 was set aside for the Gale Park Restoration Project, which seeks to restore the park’s World War I monument, replace the damaged viewing plaza, restore name plates on the Spanish American war monument, build accessible walkways and replace the park’s broken water fountain.
The Vargas-led amendments also provide $100,000 for Northern Essex Community College’s Early College program, $50,000 for MakeIT Haverhill to expand their efforts to provide free skills training, digital literacy and English as a Second Language courses and $30,000 for the Veterans Alliance of Greater Haverhill for services to veterans
The package also grants a one-year extension of no-cost universal school meals spearheaded by Vargas. It further bans child marriage; expands access to treatment for minors with HIV; creates a “Common App” for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps; and money for MassHealth and other needs-based benefits.