Barry Finegold has been fully committed to Lawrence and its citizens as their State Senator and has worked with the legislature to allocate funding and aid to the city on a number of occasions.
In 2011, Senator Finegold secured $631,000 to rehire police officers that were laid off by the city the previous year. Seven officers were able to return to work to increase patrols throughout the city thanks to these funds. The same police staffing grant was included in the fiscal year 2013 budget, thanks for Senator Finegold’s advocacy. More funding for police will be coming to the city by fall 2012. Barry was also helpful in obtaining federal funding for the Lawrence Fire Department to bring their staff levels back up to an acceptable level.
New businesses have been growing in Lawrence; Barry personally recruited Eastern Bank to locate in Lawrence on Essex Street in the heart of the city. Eastern Bank was the city’s first new retail banking office to open in 23 years.
During Senator Finegold’s tenure, he has been a relentless advocate for new industries and economic development in the city. The redevelopment of abandoned mills in Lawrence has long been a priority for the city. Barry worked hard to help Sal Lupoli revive multiple mills and return them to active use, leading to the creation of Sal’s Riverwalk. He’s also worked extensively with Lawrence Community Works on the redevelopment of the Duck Mill and Union Crossing, the construction and commercial space of which will create jobs and bring more than $29 million in investments into Lawrence. In 2007, Finegold announced that the Blakeley Building, located at 467-479 Essex Street, had been selected by the Massachusetts Historical Commission to receive $800,000 of state rehabilitation tax credit funds. This historic building has since been turned into affordable housing for low-income families.
Barry worked with the city to create a vibrant public-private partnership to start improvements to the Riverway in Lawrence. This updated green corridor provides access to the river and much-needed green space in downtown Lawrence, as well as attracting new companies to the areas.
Finegold has also largely focused on the education and public services for residents in Lawrence.
Barry successfully attracted Northern Essex Community College to Lawrence when they were looking for a location for their new satellite campus. NECC is currently constructing a new campus in downtown Lawrence, where the In-Town Mall once stood, to house their Technology and Allied Health programs. The $27 million Health and Technology Center is scheduled to open by the fall 2013 semester and will attract about 1,000 students and dozens more faculty and staff to Lawrence's downtown. The students that graduate from these programs will go on to contribute to the Merrimack Valley in these growing fields.
Barry has been heavily involved with the new superintendent/receiver of Lawrence Public Schools and the reorganizations of the school district. Senator Finegold wants to ensure that Lawrence students have the best possible education and has advocated giving the superintendent the tools necessary to make sweeping and lasting changes to improve the education system.
Barry Finegold also advocated for Greater Lawrence Regional Vocational High School to receive a school grant from the Mass Clean Energy Center. Finegold, along with former Senator Tucker and Representative Torrisi, supported a grant to fund the purchase of a mobile solar panel training unit. The High School received a $75,000 grant for this project in July 2010.
Finegold worked to increase community support and awareness for abused women. He spearheaded an amendment passed in the House of Representatives to fund $20,000 for the Spanish and English battered women’s hotline provided by De La Mano in Lawrence. In the Senate, preventing domestic violence continues to be one of his top priorities.
In every aspect of the city, Finegold fights for funding to help make improvements to the city of Lawrence. In 2012, city received $13.9 million for water infrastructure improvements, water meter improvements and valve replacements as part of the state’s low-cost State Revolving Fund (SRF) financing. Low-cost financing for these projects will directly benefit the city and the economic health of the area. These projects also have the potential to create jobs.
In 2011, the Lawrence History Center received a $10,000 grant from Mass Humanities, a state agency, for the Bread and Roses Strike exhibit to preserving and promoting the great history of the City of Lawrence.
In the summer of 2012, Barry advocated on behalf of the Greater Lawrence Boating Program by ensuring the passage of his bill that requires the Division of Capital Asset Management to enter into a long-term lease with Greater Lawrence Community Boating Program to give stability to the program and to the youth and families it serves.
In early 2012, the city received $500,000 thanks to Senator Finegold’s support from the state’s PARC program to improve Campagnone (North) Common Park. Improvements include the installation of a new play structure, a wide asphalt path around the play area, new plantings and benches and the renovation of two entry ways into the park.