Efforts to remove the former Hurld Elementary School off Bedford Road received another shot in the arm as it was recently announced $262,500 in federal funding has been set aside for the project termed the "Hurld Park Green Infrastucture."
Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with several others including Chairman Richard E. Neal (MA-01), Chairman James P. McGovern (MA-02), Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05), Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06), Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), and Congressman Bill A. Keating (MA-09) announced Massachusetts will receive an estimated $138 million in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) in the Fiscal Year 2022 spending bill for 120 important community projects throughout Massachusetts including the project in Woburn.
The "Hurld Park Green Infrastructure" project is aimed at removing the former Hurld Elementary School site off Bedford Road and replacing it with an outdoor recreation area.
The Hurld School project is being led by Ward 3 Councilor Jeffrey Dillon, along with Council President Michael Concannon, and the city of Woburn including the Recreation Department in conjunction with Mayor Scott Galvin.
The funding for the Hurld Park Green Infrastructure Project, City of Woburn ($262,500) will be used for completing engineering designs for a major (11.3 acres) green infrastructure project in Woburn. This project will make its surrounding neighborhood significantly more heat and flood resilient as climate change increases both summer temperatures and rainfall intensity.
Community co-benefits include stormwater pollution remediation through a constructed wetland; stream, floodplain and wetland restoration; ADA-accessible paths; and both active and passive recreation.
According to the release announcing the funding of this project, it will benefit over 24,000 residents—including three environmental justice neighborhoods located within a mile of the site and will contribute to regional flood management, specifically for the communities of Winchester, Arlington, Medford, Cambridge, and Somerville.
Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin and City Councilor Jeff Dillon of Ward 3 issued a joint statement commenting, “We are very grateful for Congresswoman Clark’s efforts and her continued strong support and advocacy on behalf of the City and our residents. The $262,500 grant will help us complete the design of the exciting new 11-acre open space / recreation project at Hurld Park, the site of the former Daniel P. Hurld elementary school.”
In May of 2021, some 60 area residents along with city and state officials gathered at the former Hurld Elementary School off Bedford Road in West Woburn to offer input during the planning stages of future projects at the site including a new park area to the front and wetland restorations to the rear.
Some grant funding has already been received, through the Mystic River Watershed Association (MRWA), for design of the wetland restoration work which, along with the new park, would be done in stages as additional grant money and other funding is received.
Of immediate concern was removing the dilapidated former Hurld Elementary School, located between Winn Street and Locust Street, which Mayor Scott Galvin told the gathering of neighbors at the time will be coming down at some point in the future.
Area residents, who also mentioned on-going flooding problems with the site, expressed concern the area is being used as a hangout and gathering spot by area youths, often after dark, and added the vandalism at the site is getting worse.
The Hurld School was opened in 1957 and built at a cost of $614,758 with the state paying 37.09 percent, according to city records. It was closed at the end of the 2018 school year in June 2018.
Galvin said there will always be the great memories from the former elementary school but noted it is now a great opportunity to put together a plan for the future.
Dillon, a Sheridan Street resident and Hurld graduate, noted it was great to see such a good turnout on a near-perfect Saturday morning back.
He said the time is now to start offering input on what the end-project should look like and added continued input will also be needed.
He urged those attending the 2021event to reach out to other area neighbors to have them give their input as well.
"Please tell us what you want to see," urged Concannon at the time.
It was noted by one city official during the tour that the Hurld site will be more of a neighborhood park where the former Clapp Elementary School site has more of a community feel do it overlooking Horn Pond.
Corey reported the site in total is about 12-and-a-half acres with the front portion being the area targeted for the park, while the wetlands are behind the school with an elevation drop of some 35 feet between the two. The wetland, it was noted, makes up about 30 percent of the site.
Dillon talked about the restoration efforts of the wetland adding it is hoped the work, in addition to removing some of the paved parking area, would help flooding concerns listed by area residents, many of whom now rely on basement sump pumps during heavy rain events.
As to the $138 million spending bill, the projects focus on areas such as energy and water development, transportation, agriculture development, housing and urban development, environmental protection, homeland security, and labor, education, health and uman services.
“This federal funding for Massachusetts means we can initiate, strengthen, and expand community-based projects that serve our families, businesses, and cities and towns every day,” said Senator Markey. “These projects will spur our economy, strengthen our resiliency, expand access to important health care, promote clean energy and climate solutions, and help feed and house our most vulnerable in every region of our Commonwealth. I am proud that my delegation partners and I were able to secure this critical funding, and I will continue to fight for the resources Massachusetts communities need to thrive and grow.”
“The Massachusetts delegation and I have been fighting hard for additional federal investments for the Commonwealth, and I'm glad we secured nearly $138 million to help tackle our communities’ most pressing needs. These funds will deliver critical projects and services across the Commonwealth that will improve our infrastructure, spur the economy, and enhance clean energy, housing, education, and social service initiatives. I will keep fighting to deliver federal resources to help Massachusetts families,” said Senator Warren.
“In this pivotal moment, the Congress has risen to meet some of the most pressing challenges at home and abroad by passing the omnibus legislation,” said Chairman Richard E. Neal. “I fought hard to secure nearly $8 million in Community Project Funding that is heading to western and central Massachusetts to address some of its most pressing needs. These investments support and foster economic development, making a real difference in the lives of so many in our community.”
“I am celebrating alongside so many essential organizations in our community whose efforts will be recognized with a collective investment of more than $11.3 million in federal funding to the Second District,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.
“As Chair of the House Rules Committee, I fought hard for the inclusion of community projects to deliver vital support to worthwhile causes across Massachusetts and the nation, and I am proud that this money will make a real difference in our Commonwealth.”
“In partnership with outstanding local organizations, I’m proud to have secured nearly $8 million in funding for vital community projects in the funding package signed into law by President Biden today,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “By investing in economic development and education, shortening our road to recovery post pandemic, and bolstering working families, this funding will support projects working to make our communities even better places to live. I look forward to continuing our work with local stakeholders to get these important projects done for all who call the Third District home.”
“I am thrilled to announce that I have secured federal funding for ten Community Projects throughout the Fifth District in this year’s budget package. These investments are a direct response to the needs of our local community. We are improving our climate readiness through green infrastructure, investing in higher education for underserved youth, expanding accessibility for community health care services, and much more. These projects will undoubtedly improve the lives of residents in the Fifth District and the long-term welfare of our community. Democrats are listening to leaders on the ground, delivering results, and rebuilding a better America for everyone,” said Assistant Speaker Clark.
“It is an honor for us to fight for the funding that benefits the people of Massachusetts,” said Congressman Seth Moulton. “I am thrilled to have secured $10 million to increase access to healthcare, public transportation and affordable housing in northeast Massachusetts.”
These community-supported and community-driven projects will improve the lives of people across the Commonwealth and in the Massachusetts 7th, supporting investments in our schools, our infrastructure, our health care, and most importantly, our people,” said Rep. Pressley. “These robust investments will provide critical support for our most vulnerable communities who have suffered throughout the pandemic. I’m proud to have secured this federal funding alongside Senator Markey, Senator Warren, and our Massachusetts delegation to deliver resources for a just and equitable recovery that leaves no one behind.”
“I am very pleased to have secured over $11.5 million in funding for community projects in my district,” said Rep. Lynch. “This money will be used to make critical investments in our seniors, our veterans, affordable housing, education, substance abuse treatment, climate/change resiliency efforts and better transportation infrastructure. I am proud to serve alongside such dedicated Massachusetts colleagues who worked together to ensure our cities and towns received this necessary financial assistance.”
“The people of Southeastern Massachusetts and the Commonwealth as a whole stand to benefit tremendously from these federal funds, which come as a direct result of the close working relationship of the Massachusetts delegation,” said Congressman Bill Keating. “I am deeply grateful to Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman DeLauro for leading a transparent process that was able to deliver funding to all ten projects I requested in my district, and I am also grateful to Senators Warren and Markey for their work to support and build on the requests of the House delegation. These projects will benefit the people of Massachusetts directly through job creation, environmental sustainability, improved healthcare access, and so much more - and that is something we can all be proud of.”
Under guidelines issued by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, members of Congress requested CDS funding for projects in their state for Fiscal Year 2022. CDS requests were restricted to a limited number of federal funding streams, and only state and local governments and eligible non-profit entities were permitted to receive CDS funding.