EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Baker was in Easthampton Tuesday to announce recipients for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Planning and Action Grants (MVP).
The MVP Grant program provides support for cities and towns to begin the process of planning for climate change resiliency and implementing priority projects.
“This summer, we experienced four significant heat waves. More than 25 days of over 90 degrees, two tropical storms, a record amount of precipitation in the month of July, and significant flooding across the state,” said Governor Baker.
It has been a hot, wet summer and people who live near Cherry Street in Easthampton told 22News they’ve been dealing with the effects of it.
“Sometimes the basement has water in it. It usually has a little bit of water,” said Maggie Garceau of Easthampton.
“We would like to make improvements to the basement, make different rooms out of it, but we are always aware of the flooding issues,” Mary McEntee of Easthampton told 22News.
To help fix these issues, Easthampton was given $2-million through the state’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program. This program helps communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and changing weather. The money will go towards improving drainage in the Cherry Street area.
“The flooding, the backup, the sewer discharge in people’s homes, is a very significant issue. Our DPW knows this are all too well,” said Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle.
A new sidewalk will be built on Cherry Street and plants will be added to help absorb rain and hopefully keep water out of basements. The money will also help preserve green spaces in Easthampton like at the Brickyard Brook Conservation Area. LaChapelle said these projects will likely get started next spring.
Rachel Achmad of Easthampton told 22News, “After we’ve had a lot of rainfall, there are parts of it where there’s a lot of erosion. It’s really muddy. The banks get washed away.”
Massachusetts has old infrastructure like pipes and sewers. Governor Baker said communities can’t wait any longer to improve these systems or the consequences will keep getting worse.
“There’s work to be done now to deal with the issues we already face in regards to climate change,” said Baker.
Brickyard Brook Conservation Area, a 15.22 acre conservation area, is open to the public and holds nature trails connecting to Mt. Tom. The organization which manages the conservation area, the Pascommuck Conservation Trust (PCT) is a 501(3)(C) non-profit. The PCT was formed in 1982 and works solely to protects important land and other natural resources in Easthampton for the public.