Patrick-Murray Administration Announces $786,100 in Tornado Relief Grants for Brimfield and Sturbridge
BRIMFIELD – Wednesday, October 24, 2012 – Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan today joined state and local officials to announce $786,100 to assist Brimfield and Sturbridge with tornado cleanup and restoration efforts.
In Brimfield, $500,000 will go toward drainage improvements and roadway reconstruction. Sturbridge will use its $286,100 grant to buy equipment and remove stumps and debris from roads and trails, including the Town Barn recreation area and ball fields.
The grants are 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 rebuilding, restoring, and replanting so residents can enjoy their neighborhoods for generations to come.”
“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 Brimfield and Sturbridge one step closer to that goal.”
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 the planting of approximately 1,600 trees in parks and along streets in the impacted communities;
- $50,000 in funds administered by DCR for fire assistance grants.
In addition to the grants announced today, both Brimfield and Sturbridge received $50,000 for tree planting and $5,000 for their fire departments’ needs from the DCR. The DCR will use an additional $154,000 to help clean up Brimfield State Forest.
“It was especially critical after last year’s devastating year of weather for the state to step in and show support both on the ground and with financial aid to assist communities in their return to full health,” said DCR Commissioner Edward M. Lambert, Jr. “DCR was happy to be part of that assistance.”
“The communities that were affected by this storm have already made great strides towards rebuilding, but we are not there yet,” said Sen. Stephen Brewer. “We will continue to work with these towns to make sure that we continue this strong partnership to restore the areas devastated by the tornado. This money will have a tremendous impact on the lives of the families living in these neighborhoods that are reminded of the destruction every day.”
“These additional funds will be essential in enabling the towns of Brimfield and Sturbridge to continue their recovery efforts from the devastation caused by last year’s tornadoes,” said Rep. Todd Smola. “I’m thrilled that EEA and DCR have made these monies available for such an important and worthwhile cause, and look forward to seeing continued improvements across both communities.”
“The Town is most appreciative of the efforts of the Patrick Administration and its state legislators for the needed support to continue recovery and reclamation efforts from the June 2011 tornado,” said Sturbridge Town Administrator Shaun A. Suhoski. “For Sturbridge, this grant program will immediately allow for additional hazard tree and debris removal around the Town ball fields and trail network as well as provide longer-term dividends through the acquisition of specialized brush maintenance equipment to clear debris and mitigate against future disasters.”
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.