BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester), and Reading Town Manager Fidel Maltez joined with the Baker-Polito Administration today to announce the Town of Reading has been awarded a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant in the amount of $2,116,578 for flood reduction measures at the Maillet, Sommes and Morgan Conservation Area.
Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Beth Card unveiled the list of municipal recipients for the 2023 MVP Planning and Action Grants in Williamsburg on August 30. A total of $32.8 million in grants being distributed in this latest funding round, including $32.6 million in MVP Action Grant funding for 73 municipal projects and $157,700 in MVP Planning Grants for six communities.
Reading’s MVP grant will be used to commence construction of a stormwater wetland system at Maillet, Sommes and Morgan, which will help to create additional offline stormwater storage, reduce inland flooding both locally and in downstream communities, and improve water quality. The project, which is expected to get underway in the spring of 2023, will also improve stream bank stabilization and ecological stability while enhancing open space development and trail connectivity.
Since 2018, Reading has been a member of the Resilient Mystic Collaborative (RMC), a partnership of 20 communities working together to address climate risk mitigation. Town officials have also been working in collaboration with the Mystic River Watershed Association to develop solutions for managing stormwater flooding.
“Reading understands that this is truly a regional issue that impacts multiple communities and requires a shared response,” said Representative Jones. “When all levels of government and local stakeholders work together to achieve a common goal, good things happen. This grant award is a testament to Reading’s perseverance and commitment to taking a proactive approach to increase stormwater capacity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
“This MVP grant is vital to our community and is an important step to address flood concerns and support stormwater management, as well as the overall effects of climate change,” said Representative Haggerty. “I want to thank the local and state officials who have prioritized this local project including Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, and the entire Reading Delegation.”
“I’m delighted to see Reading leading the way in identifying this wetlands site as an important resource for the community and the entire Mystic River watershed, and putting together a strong plan to secure this sizable state grant,” said Senator Lewis. “The state legislature has prioritized funding for the MVP program because we understand how critical it is for local municipalities to receive both technical and financial assistance to help mitigate the growing impacts from climate change, such as increased flooding and ecological damage.”
“Our Reading team is excited about this historic grant award. We want to thank our State Delegation for their continued advocacy for Reading and our Governor and Lieutenant Governor, for the Commonwealth’s funding that will make this resiliency project a reality. This project will provide local benefits but will also help our entire watershed manage stormwater. These nature-based solutions are critical as we address the impacts of climate change in our region,” said Town Manager Fidel Maltez.
In April of this year, the Reading legislative delegation submitted a letter of support on the town’s behalf to Congressman Seth Moulton requesting a federal Community Projects grant to help fund this project. On August 2, Congressman Moulton joined with the delegation and other local officials in Reading to announce that he had secured preliminary approval for $1.5 million in federal funding as part of the FY2023 Appropriations Subcommittee bill.
Created as part of a 2017 Executive Order issued by Governor Baker, the MVP program provides communities with funding and technical support to identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. Communities can apply for funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans. Communities that complete the program and become certified as an MVP community are eligible for MVP Action Grant funding and other opportunities through the state.
Since its creation in 2017, $100 million in municipal grants have been awarded through the MVP program.