After three days of debate and over a thousand proposed amendments, the $49.73 billion FY23 state budget passed the House of Representatives 155-0 and now goes to the Senate for their consideration.
In the budget Rep. Aaron Michlewtiz, Chairman of Ways and Means, secured nearly $2 million in state funding for North End programs.
Michlewitz was able to secure $350,000 to support programs and services administered by North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health).
“This money will help NEW Health continue to address COVID and its impacts on the communities it serves,” said Michlewtiz. “It will also support substance abuse treatment programs in the neighborhoods. It’s state funding we’ve done annually for the past few years.”
Another $250,000 will go towards renovations of the kitchen and $50,000 for the public bathrooms at the fire station on Hanover Street.
“The fire station had a couple of issues with the kitchen and the bathrooms that needed to be addressed,” said Michlewitz. “The big piece is the rehab of the bathroom. As a public building and being right along the Freedom Trail it gets used a lot by tourists so we felt that was something that we wanted to be helpful with given the firefighters down there had mentioned that they needed some additional resources.“
Michlewitz also secured $200,000 to support the North End Music and Performance Art Center’s “Next Act” capital campaign.
“As many residents know NEMPAC opened up their new space last summer so they’ve been working through their capital campaign to work on increasing space for administrative and instructional programming, with additional resources for enhanced professional programming,” he said.
Another $50,000 for improved and enhanced lighting around the DCR Steriti Rink.
“The $50,000 will go towards outdoor lighting, especially around the back of the rink where there’s been some issues and challenges at night for years,” said Michlewtiz. “We wanted to be able to get some new lighting back there to offset and address some of those issues.”
The North End Athletic Association, the DeFillipo Playground and the Nazzaro Center will each get $25,000 as part of the House’s approved budget.
Michletiz said the North End Athletic Association will use the money to support operations and purchase new sports equipment. The $25,000 to the playground will be used to create a maintenance program for the park. Finally the Nazzaro Center will use the money for WiFi upgrades at the community center.
The biggest earmark Michlewitz was able to secure was $1 million to expand a ferry pilot program between the North End and East Boston. The earmark will ensure ferry service continues to run between the two neighborhoods until November 20222 with the hopes of continuing regular ferry service between the North End and Eastie indefinitely.
“With the Blue Line shut down recently and the upcoming closure of the Sumner Tunnel we felt it was important to focus on different modes of transportation to alleviate some of the traffic concerns in both neighborhoods,” said Michlewitz.
In the end Michlewitz said the earmarks are the result of listening to his constituents.
“Many of these projects and programs that are being funded are the result of residents reaching out and asking for some fiscal help during the budget process,” he said. “With some additional revenue we were able to provide some additional resources from the state that some of these programs wouldn’t otherwise get. We had an opportunity and wanted to make sure we made some good investments into the neighborhood.”