I want to take this opportunity to share with you the important work we were able to accomplish for South Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park this year in the Legislature. I am proud to have been elected to serve you in my new role as State Senator, and will continue to fight for what is important for our community.
In the FY19 Budget, I was able to secure operating funds for important programs throughout the First Suffolk District. In South Boston that included substance abuse programming at the South Boston Collaborative; narcotic use reduction programs at the South Boston Community Health Center; youth development programs like the South Boston Youth Ambassador Program and South Boston Leadership Initiative; a total immersion recovery program at the Gavin Foundation; youth transportation for summer camp; and senior programing at the South Boston Neighborhood House.
In Mattapan we secured funding for the Integrative Care Partnership Pilot; the Haitian American Business Expo; and the Caribbean Integration Community Development Corporation. In Dorchester we successfully advocated for funding to be expended for workforce development and educational programming for women and girls at St. Mary’s Center; gang-to-college pathway programming at College Bound; youth sports programming at ADSL; Cape Verdean Community UNIDO, and civic education curriculum at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute. In Hyde Park we allocated funds for Youth and Family Enrichment Services.
Through a statewide Life Sciences investment bond authorization, our office was able to secure $20 million for a center for nursing innovation at the University of Massachusetts Boston campus to provide students and practitioners access to state of the art simulation labs and clinical training and research spaces. We crafted language that ensures funds will go to promoting diversity in the field of life sciences, including investing in neighborhood businesses and investing in school districts with diverse populations. I am proud that this legislation reaffirms my commitment to diversity and excellence in the life science industry at UMass Boston and across the State. I know how important the campus is to Boston residents, and am committed to ensuring that the community has the opportunity to grow and thrive along with the University.
This year in the legislature, I successfully led an effort requiring Massport to implement Ship-to-Shore power capability at Flynn Cruiseport in the Economic Development Bill. The measure would have ships coming into port to plug into the electric grid rather than using diesel engines that emit fossil fuels into the air. This legislation also includes mandatory environmental impact reporting on Massport activity at Flynn Cruiseport and the Conley Cargo Terminal. This will bring accountability to Massport’s environmental obligations and help to create a healthier neighborhood for our families to live and grow.
The Environmental Bond Bill also included…
- $1 million in capital funds for new tree planting and geo-tracking across Boston and the creation of a trust for the long term preservation and maintenance of Castle Island and Marine Park in South Boston
- $2 million for the Dot Greenway project in Dorchester, an activated open space pedestrian footpath between Ashmont and Shawmut station.
- $1 million for the renovation of the Coppens Square Fountain and park in Bowdoin-Geneva
- $300,000 for public access improvements to the waterfront along the Neponset River on Edgewater Drive in Mattapan
- $300,000 for the greenhouse at Fowler-Clark Epstein Farm in Mattapan
- $250,000 for an indoor golf education and recreation facility in Mattapan
- $250,000 for renovations to Ryan Playground on River Street in Mattapan
While the effects of health disparities continue to impact our daily lives, it is important that we underscore our commitment to clean air, preservation of our natural resources, and environmental resiliency and sustainability in every neighborhood. Residents across the First Suffolk district and across the state deserve access to quality greenspace, and I am proud to prioritize these investments that will enhance the overall quality of life for so many.
My colleagues in the Legislature and I drafted a $600 million economic development package to boost Massachusetts businesses and catalyze economic growth which was recently signed by the Governor. In Boston we secured:
- $10 million for veteran, senior, and workforce housing $1 million for the renovations in Uphams Corner, including commercial and business-incubator space
- $350,000 to provide technical assistance to black owned businesses in Boston
- $250,000 for career readiness programming in Dorchester
- $100,000 for job training, workforce placement, and ESL programming
- $200,000 for a job training program in public housing in South Boston
These investments will empower local residents, provide economic mobility, and catalyze growth for our local and regional economy. These programs will improve the quality of life for workers in our neighborhoods, not just downtown, and I think that’s important.
Quality public facilities help communities thrive. From libraries to community gardens, these services are central to our quality of life. That’s why I am proud to say we secured nearly $60 million for public facilities across every neighborhood in the First Suffolk, including:
- $19 million for renovations and repairs to the Dorchester District Courthouse
- $18 million for renovations and repairs to the South Boston Courthouse
- $10 million for the construction of a Boston Public Library in the South Boston Waterfront
- $10 million for upgrades and improvements at the Uphams Corner Library and Strand Theatre
- $1.5 million for the restoration of the Old Comfort Station Building in Mattapan Square
- $500,000 for public access infrastructure on the Neponset River in Mattapan
- $500,000 for the Factory Hill Park and Community Garden in Hyde Park
I was proud to join my colleagues in passing the BRAVE Act. This veteran’s legislation addresses employment protections, tax exemptions, burial expenses, court programs, medical care, and also continues to recognize those who serve and who have served our country. We will continue to prioritize legislation that strengthens, protects, and supports our families, children, veterans, seniors, and workforce.
Over the past three years, $15 million has been invested by the State in transportation infrastructure and safety measures across South Boston. This work includes new signals, speed mitigation measures and safety improvements currently underway on Day Blvd., pedestrian bridge repairs along Old Colony Avenue connecting residents safely from the Maryellen McCormack Housing Development to Moakley Park, conversion of the City Point Bus Layover Facility on East First Street to allow for passenger pick up and drop off. A passenger platform was added to sidewalks for access as well as additional benches and much needed lighting, just to name a few.
I will continue to work together with my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that funding is available for more transportation investments that serve all our communities.
In addition to all this we have passed automatic voter registration, strengthened election integrity, created additional tools to address the substance abuse epidemic, reformed our criminal justice system, raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour, established responsible regulations on short-term-rentals, laid a framework for a sustainable energy future in the Commonwealth, and passed first in the nation Alzheimer’s legislation to provide new training for doctors and more resources for those living with the disease, as well as support for their family members.
As we enter the final weeks of summer, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity to represent you in the State Senate. I will continue to advocate for the issues that are important to our neighborhoods and bring as many resources as possible to them.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact my office.
NICK COLLINS, State Senator