McGovern Secures Over $18 Million for Central, Western Massachusetts in Year-End Spending Bill

  • BIL Presser

MASSACHUSETTS’ SECOND DISTRICTCongressman James P. McGovern (MA-02), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, announced today more than $18 million in federal funding for a range of critical local investments across the Second District. The funding for these community projects was authorized through the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus which passed the House of Representatives today and now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

“These projects were the result of community conversations with stakeholders across this district. My team and I fought hard to bring over $18 million in federal funding to 15 incredible, community-led projects across the Second District, and this is going to make a world of difference” said Chairman McGovern. “As Chair of the House Rules Committee, I worked hard to make sure the funding for these vital causes was included in our end-of-year spending bill. I’m proud of the impact this will have on our region.”

McGovern secured the funding for a total of 15 projects across the Second District, including:

$3,000,000 to renovate the new African Community Education (ACE) Center in Worcester—directly benefitting the African refugee and immigrant community by expanding opportunities and access to educational support, workforce development and cultural exchange to serve more people. The City of Worcester has a large African population, estimated at 15,000 – 20,000 individuals. ACE was founded to serve this population of refugees and immigrants through education, social and cultural programming and outreach services to stabilize and strengthen families. The renovated building will allow for the expansion of programs and services that will serve the most vulnerable members of this population, extremely low-income English learners.

$1,000,000 to upgrade the clinical simulation lab at Anna Maria College in Paxton—funding will primarily cover the necessary construction and renovation costs to expand the space, allowing for the installation of a fundamental skill lab, obstetrics and gynecology skill lab, pediatric skill lab, paramedic skill lab, and ambulance box. Additionally, funding will go toward the purchasing of technology and equipment such as high-fidelity simulators, exam equipment, vital sign and monitoring equipment, and other needs that will be necessary to ensure an optimal training experience for the future health professional workforce of Massachusetts.

$975,000 for the Avenue A Streetscape Improvement Project in Turners Falls—restoring an ADA compliant, pedestrian-oriented streetscape in the heart of Turners Falls, which is Montague’s retail, dining, and entertainment center, and a state-designated Cultural District. The project will connect smaller sections of the Streetscape the town has improved over the past five years with support from other sources.

$1,200,000 for grandparents raising grandchildren services at the Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging, Inc. in Worcester—establishing a Grandparents Raising Grandkids Resource Center to hire and train community health workers from the BIPOC community. These workers will connect grandparent-led households to services such as language translations, housing, transportation, financial literacy, mental and behavioral health, culturally competent and medically tailored food, and educational opportunities.

$3,000,000 for facilities and equipment at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester—expanding access to health care with the opening of a new health center in Worcester. Specifically, these funds would help cover the costs associated with a dental buildout and equipment required for a dental practice.

$413,000 to redesign Grow Food Northampton Community Farm in Northampton—creating additional parcels to welcome more small and beginning farms onto the Community Farm; add additional Community Garden plots to increase the number of community members growing food for themselves and their families; create additional gardening and farming spaces for more hands-on educational opportunities for all-age learners; and construct a barn for farmer use, and more.

$1,110,661 for the Jones Library Renovation and Expansion Project in Amherst—safekeeping this invaluable piece of Amherst history and restoring one of the Town’s iconic buildings, preserving the front façade and restoring its historic interior, and reopening parts currently closed to the public. This project will use low-embodied carbon materials, reduce energy use intensity by 60%, and reduce total lifetime carbon emissions by 41% compared to the current building. The larger Library renovation and expansion leverages state, local, public and private funds toward multiple objectives including: full accessibility for those with mobility impairments; meeting the current and growing need for English language instruction space, and more.

$416,275 for a summer learning program at the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition in Worcester—providing holistic leadership skills for women and girls of color. This project will focus on developing and supporting women of color leaders to help further advance their careers and provide them with the tools and strategies to combat systemic and structural racism that are often deeply embedded in institutions, systems, policies and practices. The girls of color leadership program is a one-week summer program for 9th –12th grade girls

$1,000,000 for affordable housing through the NewVue Communities Riverbend-Bigelow Schools Project in Athol—creating a new intergenerational living community comprising 53 units of affordable housing. The development will preserve two historic schools and add a new building which will extend off a central lobby extending to a wing of new apartments designed for older residents. The completed project will provide 20 one-bedroom, 24 two-bedroom, and 9 three-bedroom apartments. Project plans include both passive and active recreational spaces as well as communal garden plots that will make for an inviting community neighborhood.

$1,000,000 for the North Star Journey Home Affordable Housing Project in Leominster—developing a 15- apartment unit building in Leominster that will provide supportive, subsidized housing for low-income/homeless families.  100% of the building will be affordable and staffing supports will be housed within the building to assist families.

$450,000 for technology for first responders in Franklin County—Franklin County’s analog public safety radio system is reaching end-of-life and literally falling apart. The Massachusetts Executive Offices of Technology Services and Security and Public Safety and Security agreed to allow county departments to use the commonwealth’s digital interoperable radio system. They also provided a grant to purchase radios for all system users so they could communicate on the new system. However, the grant did not cover the purchase of digital voice over pagers. Many rural parts of the county remain deprived of cell signal coverage. Pagers that work off the commonwealth’s digital radio system will soon be the only reliable option to reach many of Franklin’s volunteers. Without them, the county faces lengthier response times for first responders to arrive on scene because only old-fashioned phone trees can be used to notify them of an incident.

$491,000 for water system upgrades in Northborough—assisting in the Town’s migration of its water and wastewater facilities to current cybersecurity and technology standards for emergency alarms and communications infrastructure.

$426,360 for fiber optic network in Spencer—connecting through a fiber network seventeen municipal, educational, community television, emergency services, and emergency communications facilities to enhance interconnectivity, community communications, emergency communications, information security, and reliability of the communications network.

$1,000,000 for facilities and equipment at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester—adding 87 inpatient beds to address a serious healthcare access challenge in Central Massachusetts. Central Massachusetts has fewer inpatient hospital beds per-capita than other parts of Massachusetts and the U.S. average. This impedes timely access to care and forces some of the sickest patients to be treated distant from home. UMass Memorial Medical Center is the region’s sole provider of a variety of high acuity, tertiary services, and largest safety net hospital. Due to an inpatient bed shortage, the Medical Center persistently must decline patient transfer requests from community hospitals and its emergency department patients face exceedingly long admission delays. Expanding its bed capacity will improve access for the sickest patients.

$3,000,000 for renovations at Veterans Inc. National Guard Armory in Worcester—funding for a proposed renovation project to create a One-Stop Veterans Resource Center for veterans and their families where they can have all their various needs addressed.

President Biden is expected to sign the appropriations package into law soon, ensuring each of these projects is funded in the new year.