State to ‘Help Pay For’ Privately-Owned Parking Garage in Downtown Haverhill

A $6.5 million state MassWorks grant will “help pay for” the Lupoli Companies’ planned 616-space parking garage in downtown Haverhill. The grant was hailed Friday by Mayor James J. Fiorentini and appears to come on top of another $750,000 in a state MassWorks grant awarded last year for the design of the garage to replace the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. The mayor characterized the grant as helping to pay for the private garage and tied the money to an economic development package also approved by the legislature. (See related story.)

“These projects are vital to Haverhill’s future and continued success, and we are grateful for the leadership and support of our legislative delegation as well as Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito who helped champion these critically important funds.”

A year ago, Fiorentini lobbied for City Council approval of developer Salvatore N. Lupoli’s $160 million redevelopment of a 4.5-acre Merrimack Street parcel. The mayor said then Lupoli is the only one who would pay for the parking garage.

Haverhill Wants Reimbursement For Costly Laws; Michitson Also Seeks Plan for Paying Major Expenses

A state auditor’s report first released last spring found 29 state laws passed between 2016 and 2020 have imposed significant financial burdens on Massachusetts cities and towns. One Haverhill city councilor is particularly concerned about rising election costs. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan convinced his colleagues Tuesday night to unanimously ask for the state pay back the money. “One area in particular that I thought was interesting was elections. Elections have expanded.

Officials Celebrate $210,000 in State Assistance for Haverhill Parks and Recreation Areas

City and state officials celebrated Friday the receipt of $210,000 in budget earmarks for improvements and maintenance at several Haverhill parks. The money was included in the state budget following advocacy by Sen. Barry R. Finegold, whose district is being reconfigured to include Haverhill; Rep. Andy X. Vargas; and Sen. Diana DiZoglio with support by Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, Lenny Mirra and Christina A. Minicucci. Finegold secured $100,000 for an extension of the Riverside Park trail extension and $50,000 for improvements at the park adjacent to Lake Pentucket, more familiarly known as Round Pond. In addition, as WHAV reported first in April, Vargas sought and won approval to set aside $50,000 for Gale Park to help pay for restoration of the park’s World War I monument, damaged viewing plaza and Spanish American war monument name plates; build accessible walkways; and replace the park’s broken water fountain.

State Grant Helps MakeIT Haverhill Hire Its First Employee; Also Pays for New Business Park Signage

Lisbeth Valdez was welcomed formally Friday as MakeIT Haverhill’s first paid employee. Thanks to state grant, Valdez is beginning work as the nonprofit’s program director. She was welcomed during a reception at the organization’s Washington Street building where a large, ceremonial state check was presented. MakeIT Haverhill founder Keith Boucher said the organization has evolved since first being envisioned in 2017—bringing in sewing machines to train workers for the now-defunct Southwick Clothing factory and, then, completely shifting gears in light of the pandemic. However, he notes, the core mission is unchanged.

Rep. Vargas to Receive La Promesa Award at State of Latino Education Event Wednesday

Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas is set to receive the La Promesa—or The Promise—award at Wednesday afternoon’s annual State of Latino Education event at the State House. Latinos For Education celebrates its fifth anniversary during the presentation, which features discussion of “progress that Latino students and educators in the Commonwealth have made towards educational equity as well as the challenges that remain ahead.” According to a statement, Vargas is among those Latino educators and policymakers “that have played a critical role in advancing the Educator Diversity Act.” Former Springfield Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Lydia Martinez is recipient of the La Lucha Award. Former House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez serves as master of ceremonies. Other scheduled participants include House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano, Education Committee co-chairs Rep. Alice H. Peisch and Sen. Jason M. Lewis, Ways and Means Committee chairs Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Massachusetts Teacher of the Year Marta Garcia and former Rep. Juana Matias, who is now a regional administrator in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Lt. Gov. Polito Tours Merrimack Valley YMCA in Methuen; Y Gets $250,000 State Grant for Roof, HVAC

The Merrimack Valley YMCA in Methuen is getting a new roof and HVAC systems thanks to a state grant aimed at child care organizations primarily serving low-income families. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visited the YMCA last week, which received $250,000 from the Executive Office of Education Early Education and Out-of-School Time grant. She joined state Reps. Linda Dean Campbell and Frank A. Moran, among others, for a tour. “We are committed to supporting child care providers across the Commonwealth who have worked tirelessly to care for children and support Massachusetts’ families,” said Polito.

DiZoglio’s Bid for State Auditor Receives Endorsement of Gubernatorial Candidate Healey

Sen. Diana DiZoglio Friday received the endorsement of Attorney General Maura Healey in DiZoglio’s bid for state auditor. Healey, Democratic nominee for governor, said “Taxpayers in Massachusetts deserve to know where their money is going. They deserve transparency from their elected officials, and accountability from their government, and I know Sen. Diana DiZoglio can deliver.”

“As a small businesswoman, a nonprofit leader and an elected official, Sen. DiZoglio has worked her whole life to make other people’s lives better. We can count on her to ensure that no one—no matter their background, bank balance or zip code — receives different treatment on Beacon Hill,” Healey said.

Will Florida Gov. DeSantis Face Federal Kidnapping Charges? Local Civil Rights Group Investigates

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston declined to comment yesterday on whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces a possible prison sentence in connection with his role in tricking migrants to board a plane for Martha’s Vineyard in violation of federal law and international treaties. Whether or not the U.S. Justice Department acts, Lawyers for Civil Rights, the same group that forced Haverhill into switching to mostly ward councilors and school committee members, is investigating what crimes may have been committed by DeSantis and others. Lawrence Airport officials also wouldn’t comment publicly on whether they are taking steps to prepare for unannounced arrivals of migrants by chartered planes. Gov. Charlie Baker, however, today called up 125 National Guard members to help shelter and feed men, women and children from Venezuela at Joint Base Cape Cod. “We do not have any further comment,” a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Rachel S. Rollins told WHAV by email yesterday, referring to inquiries to the Justice Department in Washington.