Last month Rep. Adrian Madaro joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass its Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) budget, investing in programs and services across the state.
Madaro said the $42.7 billion House budget makes major investments in education, housing, substance use disorder services, health care, and other priorities in East Boston and across the Commonwealth.
In the House’s version of the budget, which is now in the Senate for consideration, Madaro said he was able to secure funding for crucial Eastie community programs like the East Boston Social Centers, Crossroads Family Shelter, Piers Park Sailing Center, as well as directing more state funding to Eastie for public safety, education, social service and greenspace programs.
“I was pleased to see several important priorities for East Boston funded in the this year’s House budget,” Rep. Madaro said. “This funding will support vital programming and projects that will serve residents across East Boston and surrounding communities. I was proud to advocate for these local and state priorities during the budget debate, and I look forward to seeing them included in the final budget.”
Madaro thanked Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and House Speaker Robert DeLeo for their work on the budget and helping Madaro get this important budget items earmarked.
“East Boston priorities I was able to secure funding for in the House Budget include YouthConnect, The East Boston Greenway, The East Boston Social Centers, Piers Park Sailing Center, Crossroads Family, Constitution Beach and Community Policing Grants and several educational initiatives.”
YouthConnect provides vital community-based mental health and diversion services for high-risk youth and their families in Eastie through a dedicated social worker at the East Boston Police Station.
“Too many youth in our community are exposed to harmful factors, whether at home, at school, or on the streets, including drugs, crime, and gang activity,” said Madaro. “This year, I was able to secure $25,000 for YouthConnect in the state budget.”
The East Boston Greenway is a vibrant thread spanning the length of our neighborhood, connecting some of Eastie’s best parks and providing a continuous artery for walking, running, and biking away from bustling city streets.
“Running from Piers Park to Constitution Beach, we want to further improve upon and develop the Greenway, with hopes to expand through the rest of East Boston and into our neighboring communities,” said Madaro. “This year’s House budget dedicates $100,000 for environmental and feasibility studies in regards to expanding the Greenway from Constitution Beach into Winthrop via Belle Isle Marsh. We look forward to continuing to grow this important asset.”
The East Boston Social Centers provide important childcare services at multiple locations for families across Eastie. Due to the current redevelopment of the Orient Heights Housing Development, the East Boston Social Centers childcare facility at the site will be forced to relocate.
“This year’s House Budget provides $50,000 to help with relocating children at the site to ensure that families from all backgrounds continue to receive access to enriching, high-quality childcare services,” said Madaro.
Piers Park Sailing Center is one of Eastie most exciting and popular institutions, activating the water around our coastal community and providing residents, including seniors and persons with disabilities, the opportunity to sail in Boston Harbor. Some of Piers Park Sailing Center’s most cherished programs are their youth sailing and education initiatives. After school and during the summer, these programs give students the opportunity to learn to sail and educate them about the environment and marine life.
“This year’s House Budget provides $50,000 to help Piers Park Sailing Center provide free programming for financially disadvantaged youth in East Boston and surrounding communities so they can access this important educational resource and unique opportunity,” said Madaro.
The Crossroads Family Shelter provides vital support and resources for women and families across our community. This year’s House budget provides $45,000 for Crossroads to operate workforce development and educational programming for women and girls.
“Through these programs, Crossroads is able to empower women with the resources and tools for their own advancement and future success,” said Madaro. “Programs like these represent important investments in our community.”
Constitution Beach is a popular destination in our community where people can enjoy the beach, run, walk, or utilize the athletic courts and fields. As a state property located between two residential neighborhoods in Eastie and directly across from a Logan Airport runway, security at the Beach is always a priority.
“Thanks to my amendment, this year’s House Budget ensures that state police patrols at Constitution Beach continue to be fully funded,” said Madaro.
The After-School and Out-of-School Quality Line Item provides grants for essential youth programming outside the classroom, including programs in Eastie.
According to Madaro, currently 80 percent of 1.3 million school-aged youth in Massachusetts lack access to affordable, high-quality afterschool and extended learning programs, with over 16,000 on the Department of Early Education and Care waitlist alone.
“After-School and Out-of-School initiatives are important to providing youth with structured programming to keep them engaged, active, and able to access exciting opportunities,” said Madaro. “Partnering with the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, I was proud to get over $1.1 million in additional funding for programming into the House budget.”
Madaro was also able to secure funding to continue the Senator Charles E. Shannon Community Safety Initiative or Shannon Grant program. The Shannon Grants are a series of grants to community programs to address gang and youth violence issues across Massachusetts. The Shannon Grant has been a vital tool in confronting these issues in local communities, taking a multi-pronged approach that mobilizes neighborhoods, empowers law enforcement, intervenes with at-risk youth, and provides alternative opportunities for youth at risk or involved with gangs.
“The Shannon Grant has provided essential funding to organizations serving East Boston and the surrounding communities,” said Madaro. “This year, I was able to secure an additional $1 million in funding for the Shannon Grant in the House Budget, for a total of $10 million.”
Madaro was also able to earmark $250,000 for Community Policing Grants. According to Madaro, Community Policing Grants are an essential source of funding for community policing—beat cops patrolling main streets—in cities and towns across the state.
“This type of frequent in-person interaction is important to building trust between members of the community and local business owners with the police,” said Madaro.
Community Policing Grants were a robust part of state budget until they were cut in 2009 as part of post-recession austerity measures.
“This year, in collaboration with Councilor Andrea Campbell, I was able to secure $250,000 in the House Budget to bring back this program and launch a pilot in Boston,: said Madaro. “We are looking forward to seeing community policing return to our neighborhood streets.”
The proposed budget is now in the State Senate.