Local Government and Politics, News

House Environmental Bond Bill could bring potential benefits to Lynn, Marblehead and Swampscott

Several coastal areas in Lynn, Marblehead and Swampscott could see improvements if the Environmental Bond Bill, passed recently in the state House of Representatives, works its way through the state Senate and is signed off on by the governor.

State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) and state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) have announced the passage of several of their amendments concerning local environmental priorities in the House Environmental Bond Bill, which includes more than $2.95 million in funding to support coastal resiliency in the face of climate change, natural resource protection and the development of recreational assets and opportunities, according to information provided by Ehrlich’s office.

The bill is designed to assist municipalities and small businesses in protecting, modernizing and cultivating their environmental footprint, resources and surroundings.

Funding was secured for projects in three local municipalities — $1.8 million for the procurement and installation of a high-efficiency irrigation system to promote water conservation at the Gannon Municipal Golf Course in Lynn, $200,000 for improving the Flax Pond in Lynn, $1 million for repairs to the Fisherman’s Beach pier in Swampscott, $400,000 to repair erosion of a landfill cap at the Marblehead Lead Mills property, $166,000 to repair storm damage to the Ferry Lane parking lot in Marblehead and $30,000 in repairs to drainage at the Goldthwait Reservation Salt Marsh in Marblehead.

“We’re eager to work with Sen. (Brendan) Crighton (D-Lynn) and the governor to help secure funding to make sure we preserve and maintain our historic Fish House and pier and seawall on Fisherman’s Beach,” said Swampscott Town Administrator Sean Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald said there was a lot of storm damage from this past winter, so the funding would help address preservation of the area, including to the Fish House, which is badly in need of repairs. He said the building’s roof needs to be replaced and there was some damage to the facade because of the astronomical high tides from the Nor’easters that affected the town.

The Fish House not only has historical significance — it’s on the National Historic Register — but it’s a working Fish House, one of the only active ones on the East Coast. Lobstermen and fishermen make a living out of it, Fitzgerald said.

In addition, he said the funding will help repair the pier, which is starting to show age, and the seawall, which is in need of maintenance.

In Marblehead, the Lead Mills area is of critical concern, as 100 percent of the town’s on-grid power comes to town through transmission lines underground that travel through the Lead Mills trail area. But significant erosion on the site threatens to compromise the landfill cap, and subsequently the supply of electricity to homes and businesses, according to Ehrlich’s office.

Drainage improvements are needed to ensure the long-term stability of the Goldthwait Salt Marsh, which has been supported for years through public support — the Goldthwait Reservation was gifted to Marblehead in 1947 as a private, nonprofit land trust, according to Ehrlich’s office.

“These are critical investments for the region as a whole, which was severely impacted this past winter storm season,” said Ehrlich in a statement. “Climate resiliency is only going to become more important going forward, which is why I am proud that the House passed such a strong bill to protect homes, businesses and the environment.”

Cahill said in a statement: “This legislation extends the commitment made by the House of Representatives to invest in storm resiliency, open space, natural resources, through a critical investment of funds.”

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