Everett and Chelsea Join Together To Celebrate Federal Funds for Island End River Project

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley visited Chelsea City Hall to help celebrate the $750,000 in federal funding she secured for Chelsea and Everett’s Island End River Coastal Flood Resilience Project.

Officials from both cities, including Chelsea City Manager Fidel Maltez and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, joined local environmental justice advocates and the congresswoman in a press conference and a roundtable discussion.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley joined city officials from Chelsea and Everett on Feb. 20 to celebrate the $750,000 in federal funding she helped secure for the Island End River Coastal Flood Resilience Project

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley with Chelsea City Council President Norieliz DeJesus at a roundtable discussion on Feb. 20 about the Island End River Coastal Flood Resilience Project

The $750,000 in federal funds will help address the growing flood risk for environmental justice communities in Chelsea and Everett, which Pressley said are both home to critical food distribution and energy infrastructure.

“Our growing climate crisis is a racial, economic, and public health issue that requires bold, intersectional investments to confront it head on,” said Pressley. “With environmental justice communities like Chelsea and Everett at increased risk of flooding and other climate-related disaster, I’m proud to deliver this federal funding to help protect residents from the long-term impact of climate change. I thank City Manager Maltez, Mayor DeMaria, and all of our advocates for their close partnership in bringing this vital project to fruition.”

The Island End River flood barrier will protect thousands of residents in the communities, as well as billions of dollars in infrastructure, said Maltez.

“Chelsea has been working hard to close this flood pathway for years now, and the Community Project Funding that Congresswoman Pressley brought to the project has been critical to moving it forward,” said Maltez. “This is the kind of federal support that will ensure we are ready to meet the challenges climate change will create locally, and that our community is still thriving fifty years from now.”

DeMaria said he appreciated  Pressley prioritizing the funding needs for this project given all the compelling requests her office receives for earmarks.

“I also would like to thank our partners in Chelsea for their collaboration with the shared understanding of the importance of building resiliency against increasing threats of coastal flooding and the risks that our communities would face to public infrastructure and critical economic areas without this important work being done,” DeMaria said.

Chelsea City Council President Norieliz DeJesus said environmental justice communities like Chelsea often find themselves on the frontlines of the devastating impacts of climate change.

“That is why we are so glad to have partners like Congresswoman Pressley, without whom we could not build infrastructure to shelter our community on this scale,” DeJeus said. “With her support, we are going to protect thousands of residents and billions of dollars of critical infrastructure from catastrophic flooding.” 

Julie Wormser, the Senior Policy Advisor for the Mystic River Watershed Association, said her group is grateful that Pressley and others have stepped up in such a major way to protect residents and regional food security from increasingly damaging coastal flooding.

“The Island End River Project is essential to the region because of the flood protection it provides to critical infrastructure like the New England Produce Center,” said GreenRoots Director of Waterfront and Climate Justice Initiatives John Walke. “But the project also provides an incredible example of how multiple levels of government, sources of funding, non-profit groups and community members can come together to realize transformative projects.”

Also taking part in the roundtable discussion at Chelsea City Hall were Emily Granoff, Senior Planner/Project Manager, City of Chelsea; Ben Cares, Chelsea’s Director of Housing and Community Development; Patrick Johnston, Project Manager, City of Everett; Erin Devaney, Chief of Staff, City of Everett; Julie Wormser, Senior Policy Advisor, Mystic River Watershed Association; Bianca Bowman, Climate Justice Coordinator at GreenRoots; and city officials, advocates, and community members from Chelsea and Everett.