Legislators Earmark $755,000 for Haverhill, Incl. Grants for Accessory Units, $250K for Downtown Plan

Historic New England, owns the Burgess and Lang buildings on Essex Street in downtown Haverhill. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill groups and projects stand to benefit from $755,000 included in the recently passed late state budget, including grants for those creating accessory housing units.

Haverhill’s legislative delegation of two representatives and two senators worked together to include various projects, sponsored by each, in the new state budget for the year that started last month.

“This budget represents historic investments in Haverhill and statewide. With $755,000 coming into local projects and organizations, increased funding for Haverhill Public Schools and permanent free school meals, I’m proud to have partnered with our Haverhill delegation to secure the funding that our city and constituents deserve,” Rep. Andy X. Vargas said in a statement.

Vargas served as the lead sponsor in securing $50,000 for an “Accessory Dwelling Unit Incentive Program.” He said the money, to be issued in the form of grants, will help boost the supply of low-cost housing.

By far, the largest earmark is $250,000 to help Historic New England with its recent proposal to creating a mixed-use district in downtown Haverhill, possibly featuring a hotel, retail and artist live-work space.

In June, Historic New England President and CEO Vin Cipolla said the more than three-acre planned redevelopment is made possible by its purchase of the concrete Burgess building at 143 Essex St.—the twin of its own existing Lang building next door at 151 Essex St.—and adjacent parcels.

Vargas also secured earmarks in the state budget of $50,000 for the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce for “inclusive small business growth and workforce development;” $50,000 for Beyond Walls for its Haverhill public art project in partnership with Creative Haverhill; $50,000 for Haverhill Promise to help foster grade-level reading for Haverhill students, particularly those most impacted via pandemic-accelerated learning loss; $25,000 to support city veterans programs; $30,000 for Riverside Park to help repair the basketball court; $25,000 to make repairs at the 12th Avenue Park.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan M. Hamilton served as the lead sponsor in obtaining $25,000 to support the Cogswell ArtSpace.

Sen. Pavel Payano secured $30,000 for the Latino Coalition to expand community engagement efforts; $20,000 for Somebody Cares New England’s food pantry; $50,000 for Community Action’s MakeIt Haverhill jobs and career training programs.

Sen. Barry R. Finegold was the lead sponsor in securing $50,000 for renovations and landscaping at the site of the former Wood School; and $50,000 for continuing repairs and improvements to Gale Park.

As expected, Haverhill is also set to receive $82.6 million in school aid, an increase of $8.7 million from last year. The city will also receive $11.7 million in local aid, an increase of $364,322 over last year.

The budget still must be signed by Gov. Maura Healey to take effect.

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