Reading delegation delivers $85,000 in funding assistance for local projects in FY24 state budget

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) have secured $85,000 in state funding earmarks for three local initiatives in the Town of Reading as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget that was enacted on July 31.

The final budget includes a $25,000 earmark for the Reading Memorial High School’s performing arts program, along with two additional earmarks totaling $60,000 to support restoration work at the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery. The budget is now on Governor Maura Healey’s desk awaiting her signature.

The Reading legislative delegation noted that the $25,000 earmarked for the RMHS performing arts department will be used to purchase a classroom set of Nord Stage 3 88 Stage Keyboards. These instruments will help local students learn first-hand about digital music production.

The two additional Reading earmarks included in the budget will be used for gravestone, monument and stonewall restoration at the Laurel Hill Cemetery. Located in the center of Reading’s downtown area, the cemetery is the final resting place of over 200 Civil War soldiers, sailors and marines.

Reading officials will use a $35,000 budget appropriation to hire a certified preservationist who will work to repair and stabilize the various stones and monuments in the cemetery to properly honor the sacrifices made by those who are buried there. A $25,000 earmark included in the budget will be used by the Reading Department of Public Works to perform masonry repairs on a portion of the perimeter stone wall abutting Laurel Hill Cemetery, which will help to address several existing structural deficiencies.

“The final state budget reflects some of the town’s top spending priorities,” said Representative Jones. “These local earmarks the delegation fought for will not only support expanded music education opportunities for Reading’s students, but also will enable the town to conduct critical repairs at Laurel Hill Cemetery to properly honor the memories of those individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.”

“It is great to see some of the town’s most important expenditure goals being reflected in the state’s final budget. This is a win for our community,” said Representative Haggerty. “The delegation fought to secure local earmarks that will provide our town with the necessary funds to make repairs at Laurel Hill Cemetery. This funding will enable the town to show proper respect for those who sacrificed their lives in service to our country and I know that honoring them is very important to our community.”

“This budget will deliver substantial resources to our communities, and make our state more affordable for working families by helping to address the high costs of housing, healthcare, child care, and college,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m especially pleased that Representative Jones, Representative Haggerty, and I were able to also secure funding for some important local Reading priorities.”