Work Includes Addition of Riverfront Section of Clipper City Rail Trail
Mayor Donna Holaday is pleased to announce that the City of Newburyport has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program that will go towards critical infrastructure upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The grant will help offset the cost of the $1.7 million project to help protect the treatment plant from storm surges and rising sea levels. This work includes the construction of a sloped stone revetment wall that will stabilize roughly 900 feet of the Merrimack River, which flows adjacent to the Wastewater Treatment Facility. An elevated berm will also be constructed behind the revetment, which will complete the missing riverfront segment of the Clipper City Rail Trail.
The plant, which was built in 1964 and recently underwent a $37 million update, is currently 2-3 feet below Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s current Base Flood Elevation. The final elevation of the berm and retaining wall will be 14.5 feet, bringing the property 2.5 feet over the FEMA base flood elevation. This work will protect the facility from flooding or other catastrophes that may result in additional, costly repairs.
Construction is expected to begin in January 2021.
“The $1 million MVP grant award is great news for our City” said Mayor Holaday. “This proactive project both provides needed protection to keep the Wastewater Treatment Facility safely operating and completes a critical piece of recreational infrastructure. I am delighted that we have received this substantial grant award from the state, and look forward to completion of this project.”
The MVP program has previously provided grants to the City for the planning and permitting associated with this project, as well as funding for a climate change vulnerability workshop and a climate change vulnerability study on the Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The City has also remediated polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were found in the soils, which needed to be completed before work at the plant could begin.
In addition, Newburyport has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s MassTrails Grant program to support construction of the Rail Trail portion of the project, in addition to $150,000 in Community Preservation Act funding that was contingently approved for the project.
The City Council will begin their process of accepting the grants and approving the remaining funding at their Sept. 29 meeting.
The Planning and Development Department hosts a project webpage with additional information, including plans and the vulnerability study.
For more information, contact Geordie Vining, Senior Project Manager in Newburyport’s Planning Office, at [email protected].