For Immediate Release - October 19, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Tornado Relief Grant for Southbridge

$286,100 for tornado cleanup and drainage improvements

SOUTHBRIDGE – Friday, October 19, 2012 – Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined state and local officials to announce $286,100 to assist Southbridge with tornado debris cleanup and the construction of drainage improvements for the Cady Brook area.

The grant is from the $4 million in funding Governor Deval Patrick announced to help impacted communities on the one year anniversary of the tornadoes, June 1, 2012.

“These grants are about recovering and rebuilding,” said Governor Patrick. “We are committed to standing with these communities as they move forward to become stronger than ever before.”

“These funds demonstrate the Administration’s continued commitment to the communities impacted by the tornadoes,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Together, we are improving the quality of life in our communities by getting public parks back open for everyone to enjoy.”

“We remain committed to providing the necessary resources to the impacted communities so they can continue to rebuild,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. “Today’s announcement helps bring Southbridge one step closer to that goal.”

“The process of recovery from a natural disaster, like the tornado of last summer, does not end in the days and weeks following the event,” said Sen. Richard T. Moore, a former Associate Director of FEMA during the Clinton Administration. “Rather, it takes months, and often times, years to recover and then rebuild. With the effects of the tornado still evident in neighborhoods across Southbridge, these additional funds will go a long way to continue reviving the community.”

“I am thrilled that we were able to bring this additional money back to Southbridge, and to all of those towns affected by the tornado last year,” Rep. Peter Durant said. “This shows the State's continuing dedication to helping those families who were tragically affected by that storm. One of the largest expenses that many communities faced was the cost of debris and tree clean up and this money will be a welcome relief.”

“On behalf of the Town of Southbridge, we appreciate the State’s funding of this important project that will address remaining drainage issues and give some peace of mind to the residents impacted by the tornado,” said Southbridge Town Manager Christopher Clark.

The $4 million in funding is available to the communities of Agawam, Brimfield, Charlton, Monson, Southbridge, Springfield, Sturbridge, West Springfield, Westfield, and Wilbraham. There are three categories of funding included:

  • $3 million in funds administered by EEA for debris removal and general recovery projects for public property and parks.
  • $800,000 in funds administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for tree planting.
  • $50,000 in funds administered by DCR for fire assistance grants

In addition to the grant announced today, Southbridge received $50,000 for tree planting and $5,000 for its fire department needs from the DCR.

The $4 million in funds are the next phase in recovery assistance, which began on June 21, 2011 when Governor Patrick signed a supplemental budget bill that provided $15 million to support costs incurred in response to the June 1, 2011 tornado. Following the state’s multi-faceted emergency efforts last spring, the Administration has maintained its presence in the region, dedicated significant resources to rebuilding projects and partnered with federal and local officials to get business and homeowners back on their feet.

To date, individuals, homeowners and businesses have received more than $26.7 million in federal disaster assistance to cover uninsured losses. The Department of Housing and Community Development helped hundreds of families find emergency shelter and has so far funded $739,000 in home repair. The Division of Insurance served as a resource and advocate for consumers filing $200 million in claims. More than 98 percent of the 11,500 tornado-related insurance claims filed after the June 1, 2011 storm have been paid, with policyholders receiving $200.3 million from carriers.  More than 81 percent of claims were paid within four months of the storm. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has directed $2.8 million in state funding to repair more than 20 streets throughout the region.