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Salem Council set to OK bonds for McGrath cleanup, school repair

Posted by Justin Rice  August 18, 2011 01:31 PM

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By Justin A. Rice, Town Correspondent

The Salem City Council gave initial approval to two bond authorizations during a special session earlier this week.

Bond authorizations require two affirmative votes by the Council. The second and final passage of both bonds is expected to come at the Council’s Sept. 8 meeting.

The first $1.4 million bond authorization would allow for the cleanup and reconstruction of the highly popular youth soccer fields at McGrath Park, which were closed in May due to contamination. The cleanup project is currently out to bid with proposals due back to the city by Aug. 25.

"McGrath Park is the most utilized park in the City," Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll said after the vote was passed on Tuesday night. "We've fast-tracked this project to do our best to have it ready for the spring soccer season."

The second bond authorization would allow Salem to repair two aging school buildings through a recent state funding award. The bond is for $56,602,359, but the city would be reimbursed 78 percent of all eligible costs by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.  

"I appreciate the Council's cooperation and state's assistance as we advance long overdue improvements to the Collins Middle School and Saltonstall Elementary School," Driscoll said. "These repairs are expensive but necessary to fix leaky roofs, windows and other structural improvements to the school facilities. Without these repairs, the buildings would further deteriorate and begin to affect classroom instruction"

On July 27 the MSBA board agreed to provide a combined $43.3 million for energy-related and other improvements to Collins Middle School and Saltonstall Elementary School. The award was part of $59.5 million the School Building Authority approved for 23 projects in 12 districts under its one-time Green Repair Program, which provides grants for roof, window, and boiler repairs that improve energy efficiency. Haverhill and Peabody also received grant.


Justin A. Rice can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com.

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