Haverhill and Area Fire Departments Receive State Grants for Protective Clothing and Gear

Haverhill and other area communities are among those sharing in state grants to buy critical firefighter safety gear. Haverhill was awarded $35,000 from the Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program, while Lawrence received $28,997; North Andover, $24,584; Groveland, $15,072; and West Newbury, $12,500. This is the third year money has been awarded as part of a five-year, $25 million bond bill to support firefighter safety and health in the coming years. “We ask so much of our firefighters, and no matter how dangerous or difficult the situation, they always do whatever it takes to help,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “This program is an opportunity to make sure they are properly protected every time they answer a call for help.”

Fire departments in Massachusetts were able to apply to this program for 121 different types of eligible equipment, including ballistic protective clothing, thermal protective clothing, gear washers and dryers, thermal imaging cameras, assorted hand tools and extrication equipment, communications resources, hazardous gas meters, fitness equipment and more.

State Awards Assistance to YWCA Residences at Ingalls Court in Methuen for 48 Apartments

YWCA Residences at Ingalls Court in Methuen will host 48 affordable homes thanks to federal and state low-income housing tax credits and subsidy funds, including American Rescue Plan Act. The assistance was announced by Gov. Charlie Baker while he was in Haverhill yesterday to celebrate his pro-housing policies over the last eight years. When completed, the project will offer 48 total housing units. All will be affordable to households earning less than 60% of area median income, with 16 units further restricted for households earning less than 30% and, in some cases, transitioning from homelessness. Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox said, “Here in Haverhill, we can see how new housing invigorates neighborhoods and supports local downtowns.

Essex County Sheriff Receives $30,000 Grant to Treat Prisoner Opioid Addiction

The Essex County Sheriff’s office was selected by the state to receive $30,000 in federal grants to provide substance use treatment to prisoners. The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program awards $243,095.50 to Massachusetts sheriffs to support the delivery of addiction services to individuals in their custody. The federal grant funding is administered by the Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. In Massachusetts, the money is managed and distributed by the Office of Grants and Research. “Our administration remains focused on using every tool available to address the opioid epidemic and expand access to substance use treatment, and these awards are the latest step in those efforts,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.

Finegold Defeats DeFranco in Senate Race; Mirra Barely Holds on; Ramos Takes Vacant Seat

The old adage “signs don’t vote” appears to have been proven in Democratic incumbent Sen. Barry R. Finegold’s win against Haverhill upstart Salvatore P. DeFranco. Finegold, who declined to debate his Republican opponent, won re-election despite a dramatically reconfigured district that saw him gain Haverhill, Amesbury, Andover, Merrimac part of North Andover and Wilmington, but lose Lawrence and Dracut. DeFranco appeared to have secured more sign locations, but still lost his home city by a little more than 200 votes in unofficial results. Finegold, who had the support of Haverhill’s elected Democrats, won the biggest community in the Gerrymandered district, 7,521-7,314. Finegold will be joined in the Senate by Democrat Pavel Payano, who won the new majority minority district serving Lawrence, Methuen and parts of Haverhill, in September.

DiZoglio Achieves Political Milestone with State Auditor Win in Mostly Female State Leadership

Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen achieved a Merrimack Valley political milestone Tuesday, winning statewide elected office, taking the job of auditor. She triumphed over Republican Anthony Amore in Tuesday’s final election, after beating Democratic party favorite Chris Dempsey in September’s primary. DiZoglio ruffled feathers in the state Senate with her frequent criticisms of the legislature’s secretive processes, extended State House closing during the pandemic and failure to ban non-disclosure agreements among other hot button issues. Apparent fears of such an independent personality sitting in the powerful constitutional position may have cost her early endorsements from sitting Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, Senate President Karen E. Spilka and her predecessor, Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives. It remains to see whether belatedly winning Democratic leadership support will weaken DiZoglio’s resolve to audit the legislature itself.

Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Point, Congregation Temple Emanuel Receive Security Grants

Haverhill’s Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Point and Congregation Temple Emanuel of Andover are among 37 nonprofit, faith-based organizations statewide to receive federal grants to improve physical security and protect against terroristic and hate-fueled attacks. Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Point was awarded $125,000 and Congregation Temple Emanuel, $150,000, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Nonprofit Security Grant Program. In Massachusetts, the money is managed by the state Office of Grants and Research of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. “Protecting our Commonwealth means protecting the organizations that are the pillars of our communities. We are committed to ensuring that these nonprofits and houses of worship are protected and that everyone can feel safe when they gather and worship,” said Gov. Charlie Baker during last week’s fourth Annual Faith-Based Organizations Safety and Security Seminar in Southbridge.

Economic Development Bill Bolsters Haverhill Downtown and Airport Projects, Methuen Youth Center

A $3.8 billion state economic development bill, sidelined last summer when officials grappled with returning surplus money to taxpayers, won approval last week with earmarks for Haverhill redevelopment projects downtown and at the abandoned Dutton Airport and supporting a Methuen Youth and Community Center as well as other wish list items.

The bill delivers on promises by Rep. Andy X. Vargas, to cover public costs surrounding Lupoli Companies’ downtown redevelopment project and Haverhill’s Dutton Airport Redevelopment, and Sen. Diana DiZoglio, to pay $5 million for the Methuen youth center and downtown projects in Methuen and North Andover as well as other regional projects. “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.”

Haverhill plans to create a new business park at the former airport off Route 110 and support a Merrimack Street development project, establishing new residential, commercial and retail space; a parking garage; and other public amenities. “This is the largest one-time investment in Haverhill’s downtown issued during my tenure,” said Vargas. “This funding will aid a transformational project for our downtown, creating sorely needed housing and opportunities for jobs and businesses.

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.