North Andover and Haverhill Share in $1.2 Million in State Flood Disaster Aid

At 5 Ford St., Haverhill, from left, Haverhill Wastewater Department’s Paul Jessel, owner Artie Moses, Building Inspector Thomas Bridgewater, Community Development Director Andrew K. Herlihy and Senate President Karen E. Spilka. (WHAV News photograph.)

North Andover and Haverhill are receiving the largest amounts of state flood disaster aid in Essex County.

Both communities were hard hit last August with flood waters collapsing a Mount Washington sewer line and creating a sinkhole, among other damage, in Haverhill, and an estimated $30 million of destruction in North Andover. Relief money from a supplemental state budget awards North Andover $725,000; Haverhill, $480,000; Lawrence, $60,000; and Methuen, $20,000.

“Lieutenant Gov. Driscoll and I have spent the past year visiting municipalities that suffered catastrophic damage due to severe weather. We knew they needed more support to rebuild, which is why we worked with the legislature to secure these disaster relief funds,” said Gov. Maura Healey in a statement released this weekend.

As WHAV reported first in November, state Sens. Barry R. Finegold and Pavel M. Payano thanked their colleagues for advancing the supplemental budget that included $15 million in aid. Senate President Karen E. Spilka, who accompanied Finegold during a tour of local disaster sites, told WHAV there’s a need for more money for dams, culverts, flood prevention and maintenance to “prevent these things from happening to start with.”

“I think we need to be putting more resources toward long-term preventative planning. Climate change is here to stay. We’ve seen these hundred-year, 10-year flooding happening more and more—certainly not hundred years or even 10 years,” Spilka said.

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll announced the release of $10 million of the aid to 37 communities at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Annual Business Meeting Saturday.

“As the former mayor of Salem and now as lieutenant governor, I know first-hand how crucial collaboration is in tackling the biggest challenges facing our 351 cities and towns,” said Driscoll. “That’s why we are proud to offer the Community One Stop for Growth program each year, which reduces red tape and streamlines the process for communities to apply for critical state funding that will improve quality of life for their residents.”

The remaining $5 million will be released later this spring to support municipalities impacted by September storms.

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