Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

The Chelsea Public Schools have had a life-line in the State Budget the last few years as finances have gotten more difficult.

That life-line is known as the ‘Hold Harmless’ provision, or more popularly the ‘Pothole’ account. This year, that account is little to no help for Chelsea as the district saw their funding slashed in half.

Last year, Chelsea got an additional $1.214 million from the Pothole account funding – a fund that seeks to help districts who are not getting a proper count of their low-income students due to changes three years ago in the way they are counted.

However, this year Chelsea will only get $296,000, nearly $1 million less than last year.

“The whole idea of the account is to hold us harmless for the change in the way they calculate the funding, which has taken dollars away from us,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “Come to find out, it was slashed this year at a rate of about 56 percent, so we are not held harmless because that would mean you are at 100 percent. By their own admission, we aren’t held harmless at 100 percent.”

State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he was disappointed in the funding allotted to Chelsea for the Pothole account, and the ability not to be able to fix the funding for the long-term. That was something he had proposed in the education funding bill.

“I’m disappointed that was also not addressed within this session,” he said. “It would have been addressed with (the education) bill and it’s another reason I’m disappointed with how all of this happened.”

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Healthy Chelsea, Residents Looking to Start Bicycle Safety Committee

Healthy Chelsea, Residents Looking to Start Bicycle Safety Committee

To promote safety and bike laws in urban areas, as well as introduce an emerging biking and pedestrian committee, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition led an Urban Biking Workshop at the Chelsea Public Library on July 31.

Vivian Ortiz, a League of American Bicyclists, certified instructor, focused on the importance of safety in areas that don’t necessarily offer bike-protected paths, such as Chelsea.

Jennifer Kelly, director of the Healthy Chelsea Coalition, is seeking members to form a biking and pedestrian committee to address the issues and concerns in the community. The committee, funded by the statewide movement to work toward healthy and active lifestyles – dubbed Mass in Motion – will work toward funding programs.

One such program is an outreach effort to give free helmets to bicyclists to increase safety.

“I work as a teacher in Chelsea, and have taken a bike to school. In the mornings when I thought I would feel safe because there wasn’t a lot of traffic, I actually had a couple of problems because I think people at that hour weren’t expecting to see someone on a bike,” Lisa Santagate said. “It was actually scarier than I thought it would be, so I don’t do it all that much, but I really want to.”

Ortiz addressed the importance of understanding that, according to state law, bicycles are considered vehicles, and should be treated as such with traffic laws, traffic flow and signaling. Although Chelsea doesn’t have much in terms of bicycle infrastructure, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) implemented a bike-sharing system to promote bicycle use and offer cheaper travel alternatives.

Residents do have the opportunity to ride on the new shared-use path along the Silver Line, and plans are in the works to include protected bike lanes on the reconstruction of Beacham Street – the only access point into Boston by bike.

LimeBike and Spin’s dockless bike program, introduced in May, opened the dialogue for bike safety in Chelsea, and created an app-based bike rental system that charges riders $1 per hour. Since there are no additions to the city for docking, the city was able to implement the program at no extra cost.

Although there is no added cost, the main concerns brought up by citizens are the bright green bikes being left in places that create a less aesthetically pleasing environment, or in places that can be dangerous, such as pedestrian walkways.

“Riding in an urban area that doesn’t have any bike infrastructure is really, really scary,” Ortiz said. “A lot of my fear in the beginning was folks were just not used to seeing people on bikes in my neighborhood. So that’s one tip that I would give folks, if you’re not comfortable riding by yourself, find a group of people. It’s much easier riding with a group to be on the street because there’s more power in numbers.”

The workshop introduced a variety of group rides that take place throughout the greater Boston area, including Hub on Wheels Sept. 16, as well as general safety tips for riders.

Ortiz’s final tips for riders: ride with traffic, not against it; choose your line and maintain it without swerving or lane splitting; avoid the “right hook” and check to make sure a car isn’t going to turn right in front of you; and always signal turns using the arm signals.

Anyone looking to become more involved in the biking and pedestrian committee can reach out directly to Kelly at jkelly14@partners.org.

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Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

Chelsea Man Pleads Guilty to Illegal Firearm Possession

A Chelsea man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Cesar Alicea, 22, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2018.

In December 2017, Alicea was indicted along with Andres Perez, of Chelsea, who was charged with possessing cocaine base and heroin with intent to distribute. It is alleged that Alicea and Perez are members of the East Side Money Gang.

On Oct. 31, 2017, Alicea was in a car that was stopped by law enforcement officers. As Alicea ran from the police, he was observed throwing an item. Shortly thereafter, Alicea was apprehended by police and arrested. The item was recovered and determined to be a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol.

The charge of being felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Decision on Two-Way Broadway Traffic Draws Differing Opinions

Decision on Two-Way Broadway Traffic Draws Differing Opinions

The good news for Chelsea residents is that the $5 million redesign of the Broadway business district is moving forward, and a final decision will be made by the City Council about its exact components next month.

And if the vision and innovativeness that City Manager Tom Ambrosino fostered in all parts of Revere can be matched here, then Chelsea residents can expect a Broadway and Bellingham Square bustling with activity and commerce.

But a big question about “The New Broadway” remains: Should the six city blocks from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue be a one-way street (as it exists now and has for many decades) or a two-way street?

The Chelsea Traffic Commission hosted a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall to hear residents’ opinions about the potential change of Broadway to a two-way street. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter at its next meeting before the Council casts the final vote about the entire redesign project, including the traffic plan.

Alexander Train, Chelsea’s assistant director of the department of planning and development, gave a thorough presentation of the re-imagined Broadway project that will totally transform the business district’s intersections, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tree pits, and physical appearance.

“We’ve completed the planning and development portion of the process and we’re now approaching the Traffic Commission to vote and adopt and enact the plan,” said Train. “Their vote will be relayed to City Council, who has the authority to approve or reject their decision.”

Police Chief Brian Kyes spoke in favor of a two-way Broadway, saying it would improve the flow of traffic.

“If a person double parks his vehicle, we have a reason to tow the vehicle ASAP,” said Kyes. “We want to keep the traffic flowing.”

Kyes said he was happy to hear that the intersection of Broadway and Third Street will have traffic lights in the redesign project. “Broadway and Third is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire state,” said Kyes.

He said that when he drove from the police station to City Hall for the meeting, “the backup when I got to Hawthorne Street was incredible, because everybody is making the loop (around Broadway). I think the final [redesign] project makes a lot of sense. I drive down Broadway, Revere all the time and I very, very rarely see double parking there.” Councillor-at-Large Damlili

Vidot said she would like to see the city pay more attention to cleaning up Broadway (such as removing the weed in the metal grates). She also disputed the claim that two-way traffic would curtail double parking and that it would make it safer for pedestrians. She also asked about potential back-ups on the Tobin Bridge and how it would affect traffic on a two-way Broadway.

Vidot said she was not happy with the swiftness of the entire redesign process.

“I urge everyone to just take several steps back and let’s figure out a way to engage more people,” said Vidot. “The way that this process has gone, having a meeting in the middle of summer when the City Council isn’t even meeting – in a hot room where everyone is aggravated and we had to wait 10 minutes to even start the meeting, all of it is just not right.”

Ambrosino, who favors a two-way Broadway, said the traffic configuration should not predominate the discussion of the redesign project.

“That’s only a small part of the reimaging Broadway,” said Ambrosino. “Many of the improvements [to Bellingham Square, Fay Square, City Hall Avenue, traffic signals at dangerous intersections] are happening regardless of which of these two configurations between Williams and Fifth Streets is chosen. Even the one-way configuration is a major improvement over the two-lane speedway that currently exists on Broadway. The two-way configuration is still safer, calmer, and slower for bicylists and pedestrians.”

Ambrosino said the two-way configuration will be “transformative.”

“It will make a difference to the feel and the look of that downtown. It makes it vibrant. It makes it aesthetically pleasing. This will be better for pedestrians, for traffic, and for businesses.”

Rick Gordon, owner of Allen Cut Rite on Broadway, said the No. 1 issue in the downtown district is parking. “I personally prefer a one-way plan for the flow of traffic. The street is much narrower than other communities and I don’t think two-way makes a business more visible.”

Gordon credited the Chelsea Police for their efforts in slowing down motorists and enforcing double-parking restrictions on Broadway. Some residents at the meeting had noted that double-parking is a recurring issue on Broadway.

Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda, whose family owns Tito’s Bakery, asked whether the City Council will have to vote on the redesign project in its entirety as opposed to voting on individual components such as the traffic configuration, and the placement of new bus stops and traffic lights on Broadway.

Following more than two hours of discussion, the one-way/two-way Broadway issue remains a hotly debated one and all eyes will be on the Traffic Commission when it convenes for a vote at its next meeting.WE should be Ambrosino said he favors a two-way Broadway

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Residents Assembling Ideas for Chelsea Walk

Residents Assembling Ideas for Chelsea Walk

The Chelsea Walk – for those on the right side of the law – has been a place to run from.

Now, City officials, a local artist and GreenRoots are hoping to make those kind folks find a reason to stay in the Walk. After raising more than $58,000 and getting a MassDevelopment matching grant, GreenRoots and the City have now embarked on a public process to begin revamping the Walk – a long-troubled small stretch of walkway between the Cherry Street parking lot and the Broadway business district.

On Monday, the collaborators held a public visioning session on the Walk, complete with Chelsea artist Sylvia Lopez Chavez – who has been selected to design and carry out the sprucing up of the place.

Roseann Bongiovanni, director of GreenRoots, said the Walk was targeted as a place that could become very important to the downtown.

“We’re looking at murals, lighting, furniture and art installations on the roof fixtures to make it feel more friendly, inviting, safe and comfortable,” she said.

She said Monday was the first of two visioning exercises with the public, and then it will be full steam ahead. A community paint day led by Lopez Chavez is scheduled for Aug. 3 and 4 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. each day. Much of the changes are expected to be done in about one month, and the final result could be programming that includes game nights and more seating.

“I’m excited about a new look and design for the walkway,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “It would really make it pop. That the goal and it’s in a very visible spot.”

Chavez said she is very excited to get to paint a mural and refurbish something in her own community. A veteran of mural and public art work in Boston, she is now focused on what kinds of creative things can be put into the Walk.

“There are a lot of very good ideas,” she said. “There is a desire to keep the community fabric and to retain a part of the history of Chelsea. There will be a lot of color. That’s a signature of mine. The space seems very art deco to me. I’m thinking of patterns…I’ve looked at textiles of different cultural background. It will just flow from the walls. I like the zig zag line that is already here. That will be a starting point.”

Additionally, she is working with members of the community to think about what should be decorating the top rafters of the walk. There is talk about things hanging from it, perhaps lights, and maybe even colored plexiglass to make the look very unique.

Bottom line, she said, is to create a space where people feel comfortable and want to stay for a bit.

That won’t be entirely easy to come by, as reclaiming the space from the criminal element and the bar crowd from the pub next door will take work. Even during Monday’s event, there were some incidents that had to be ironed out.

Councilor Enio Lopez said he is glad to see it recovered.

“I think it’s a very good idea to beautify this space and to help in what GreenRoots is doing,” he said. “It’s going to look great. We need to beautify this area, especially around this bar where there are so many problems. It’s the only bar that opens at 7 a.m.”

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Advocacy Group Produces Study Showing Roadmap to Fix Chelsea School Funding

Advocacy Group Produces Study Showing Roadmap to Fix Chelsea School Funding

A state budget advocacy organization – Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center – has released a report this week detailing a five-year roadmap to fix the state’s education funding crisis – a plan that would require $888 million over five years and mean $21 million more in state funding per year for Chelsea Schools.

Colin Jones of Mass Budget told the Record that the report – titled ‘Building an Education System that Works for Everyone: Funding Reforms to Help All Our Children Thrive’ – details a plan that would allow the state to increase school aid – specifically to communities like Chelsea Revere, and Everett – by around $200 million per year over a five-year period. That phased approach would lead to restoring what the 1993 education reform law promised, he said.

“The big picture is our school funding and the system isn’t really providing the resources that are needed for kids across these Gateway Cities like Chelsea,” he said. “The formula for funding hasn’t been updated in 25 years and the school district with the least wealth are facing the worst of it. We looked at the budgets and found that many of these districts are spending 25 percent below what they are supposed to spend on teachers. To make up for it, they have to shift money from other areas or get additional revenues or make cuts to other areas. That’s leading to these big budget gaps.”

Supt. Mary Bourque said the research confirms what the Chelsea Schools have been saying for quite some time.

“The Mass. Budget research validates what we have been saying as superintendents for years,” she said. “In 2013, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents did their own research which placed the underfunding of school districts at over $2 billion. In 2015, the Foundation Budget Reform Commission – of which I was a member – placed school districts also at over $2 billion underfunded. Now in 2018, we have MassBudget research attesting to the same. It is time to address the flaws that are well documented by multiple groups. It is time to fund our schools and place our students first.”

Jones said the formula fix needs to address the disparities between wealthy and poorer districts. Right now, he said Weston spends around $17,000 per student, while Chelsea Revere, and Everett are around $11,000 per student.

He said it should be the other way around.

He said the current formula requires districts to spend a set amount on teacher salaries, and in order to do that in the current funding climate, districts like Chelsea have to cut the extras, ask for City money or seek out grants. If that doesn’t happen, then it leads to cuts, bigger classes and no extras. Another byproduct is not being able to maintain school facilities properly.

“There are big gaps in these districts and it’s where you’ll see bigger class sizes, less money for the arts and less for enrichment programs,” he said. “You see them have to cut ties with long-time successful partners. They can apply for grants, but they shouldn’t be in that position. Education reform was about the districts doing their job at educating the kids and the state giving them what they needed to do it…We’re now starting to see a backsliding to what it used to be like before education reform.”

In Chelsea, the Foundation budget now is at $113 million, and state Chapter 70 education aid is $90 million. Under the new plan by Mass. Budget, by 2023, the school foundation budget would be $134 million and the state Chapter 70 aid would be $110 million.

It’s a gain of some $21 million per year in aid that the Chelsea Schools have been calling for over the past several years.

Jones said they consider their report a blueprint for fixing the statewide problem – a problem that is especially apparent in cities like Chelsea Everett, and Revere. He said he is hoping that it garners attention on Beacon Hill and becomes a point of discussion.

“We can fix this,” he said. “We have a blueprint now. These things will cost money to implement. There is a price, but we’re in a good economy and we’ve had good revenue collections at the state level. We’re looking at a phased approach of $200 million each year for five years.”

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Police Briefs 07-26-2018

Police Briefs 07-26-2018

BEAT UP NEAR CITY HALL

Tuesday night, July 24, at 10:22 p.m., a detail officer was approached by a male victim with lacerations to his face. The victim stated that he got into a fight with a male he knew and was repeatedly kicked and hit near City Hall. The victim was transported to CHA Everett for his injuries. The male suspect was arrested.

Melvin Maldonado, 32, of Boston, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a Class A drug (heroin).

BROKE INTO A CAR

On July 17, at 2:45 p.m., officers observed a motor vehicle with its passenger side door opened in a private lot located between Fourth and Hawthorne Streets.

After further investigation, officers located three males and one female party inside the motor vehicle, which had two broken windows on the passenger side. The car was not owned by any of the parties located inside. Three of the four were arrested on scene, and the fourth individual was transported to the hospital and was summoned into Chelsea District Court.

Jose Burgos Murillo, 60, homeless of Chelsea; Michael Herlihy, 27, of Boston; and Jamielynn Gemellaro, 36, of Reading; were all charged with breaking and entering in the day for a felony and trespassing.

STOLE PHONE AT PHONE STORE

On July 18, at 8:30 p.m., police responded to T-Mobile on a report of a stolen cell phone. The victim stated he put his phone on the counter and when he was looking away, an unknown male took his cellphone. Officers reviewed video and located suspect a short distance away and placed him under arrest.

Salvadore Pineda, 30, homeless, was charged with larceny from a building.

FAKE CAB THREATENS HACKEY

On July 20, at 3:35 p.m., a Chelsea Police traffic officer, was approached by a licensed taxi driver about being threatened in front of the Market Basket as the driver was picking up a fare. The officer placed the male under arrest for threats and running an illegal taxi operation after he confronted the taxi driver over the fare.

Ulysses Grullon, 39, of East Boston, was charged with unlicensed taxi business, threatening to commit a crime, and unlicensed operation of a taxi cab.

Police Log

Monday, July 16

Adele McCabe, 33, 20 Walnut St., Saugus, was arrested on a warrant.

 

Tuesday,  July 17

Salvador Pineda, 30, 135 Falmouth St., Revere, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and on a warrant.

Angela DeAngelis, 36, 109 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for streetwalking.

Jose Burgos-Murillo, 60, Homeless, Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering vehicle/boat for misdemeanor and trespassing.

Michael Herlihy, 37, 39 Kingston St., Boston, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime and trespassing.

JamieLynn Gemellaro, 36, 186  Wakefield St., Reading, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime, trespassing.

 

Wednesday, July 18

Salvadore Pineda, 30, address Unknown, Chelsea, was arrested for larceny from building.

 

Thursday, July 19

Giovanni Pacheco-Santos, 40, 9 Arnold St., Revere, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed and marked lanes violation.

Michael Herlihy, 37, 39 Kingston St., Boston, was arrested for shoplifting.

Egdon Padilla, 43, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Guillermo Molina, 64, 77 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and possession open container of alcohol.

Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 48, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and possessing open container of alcohol.

 

Friday, July 20

Geral Vittini, 23, 233 Humbold Ave., Dorchester, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license, speeding and marked lanes violation.

Juan Palacios, 37, 200 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license.

Derrol Bond, 26, 19 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct and threat to commit a crime.

Ulysses Grullon, 39, 20 Brooks St., East Boston, was arrested for taxicab business unlicensed, threat to commit crime and unlicensed taxicab operation.

Ahmed Maazouz, 52, 49 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for shoplifting.

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Sports 07-26-2018

Sports 07-26-2018

They’ll Let It Fly on August 11

Role model Umemba steps up for the kids of Chelsea

By Cary Shuman

Kyle Umemba has modeled on runways around the world, but his real work as a [role] model is here in Chelsea.

Umemba is one half of the co-founding team with Cesar Castro of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Jordan Boys and Girls Boys Club on Willow Street. The fourth annual basketball extravaganza brings to Chelsea some of the best talent in the area.

Umemba, 25, was once one of those aspiring players who carved out an impressive basketball career at prestigious Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge. A product of the Chelsea Youth Basketball League (CYBL) and an AAU standout, the 6-foot-3-inch guard/forward caught the attention of college coaches.

He thought of walking on at Division 1 George Washington but chose to focus on academics. He graduated with a degree in finance and currently works as a consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers – in addition to his celebrity appearances as a fashion model in New York, London and Milan for major designers.

“It’s a good balance,” said Kyle.

This month, Kyle is busy working with Cesar on the finishing touches for what has become the most anticipated summer youth tournament in the area.

What was the inspiration for Let It Fly?

“We saw that there was a lack of basketball leagues for the kids,” said Umemba. “We wanted to help out the players and also Chelsea graduates.”

And Umemba and Castro have done that in a big way, presenting $500 scholarships to 11 graduates of Chelsea High School and the Phoenix Charter School.

The unsung hero of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament is none other than Joan Cromwell, Kyle’s mother and the president of the Chelsea Black Community (CBC).

“Without CBC and Joan Cromwell, this tournament would not be possible,” credited Castro.

Joan’s company, Brown Sugar Catering, is the official

caterer for the tournament.

Kyle Umemba was asked whether he considers himself a role model for Chelsea kids.

“I don’t really look for that – if my actions determine that, so be it, but I’d rather just have some type of positive effect on people,” said Umemba.

Former hoop star Castro mentors players as a coach at CHS

By Cary Shuman

Cesar Castro could dribble, drive, shoot, and pass – but what he did best in his four years on the basketball court for Chelsea High School was: score.

Twelve-hundred-and-fifty-two-points worth, which makes him the second-leading scorer for boys in school history behind the legendary Craig Walker. He was the Commonwealth Athletic Conference MVP and led Chelsea to the conference title in his senior year (2010).

The 6-foot-guard is still very much active in the game. He is an assistant coach on Judah Jackson’s staff at Chelsea High School. Interestingly, the Red Devils won the CAC championship this season.

“It feels good to win a championship as a coach and a player,” said Castro, who went on to become an All-Region player at Bunker Hill Community College.

He is a paraprofessional aide at the Wright Middle School in Chelsea and is close to receiving his bachelor’s degree from Salem State University.

Because of daily interaction with Chelsea students in the schools and in the CHS basketball program, Castro, 27, saw the need for a summer tournament that could unite the community and bring some excitement to young players.

And he’s not resting on the past success of the Let It Fly Tournament that filled the gym to capacity last year with a succession of exciting games. There are free refreshments, musical entertainment by DJ Max Max, and Raffles.
“We’re going to start something new this year with a middle school division with four teams,” said Castro. “And we still have an eight-team high school division. It should be another great tournament.”

Teams from Lynn, Boston, Cambridge, and Chelsea will compete in the older division. Some of the top prep school players in New England will be playing in the tournament.

“It’s a one-and-one format so they have to come ready to play,” said Castro. “There’s no time for feeling it out. The players were talking about this tournament on social media back in December so they’ll be ready to compete.”

Castro said he and Umemba were members of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chelsea while growing up in the city.

“We want to thank [Executive Director] Gina Centrella, Jonathan Perez, and John Perez for all their cooperation and allowing us to hold our tournament there,” said Castro. “That’s our home and we thank them a lot.”

Castro also thanked Chelsea Police officers Sammy Mojica, David Batchelor Jr., and Keith Sweeney, and Chelsea firefighter Jonathan Morilli for their assistance at the event, along with City Councillors Damali Vidot and Jamir Rodriguez, who have been big supporters of Let It Fly.

The question of being a role model for Chelsea youths was posed to Castro.

“It’s not my intention to be a role model,” said Castro. “I just try to be genuine. And when I grew up, I truly appreciated someone pointing me in the right direction and that’s what I try to do in the schools and in the basketball program.”

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Gallery Opening

Gallery Opening

John Winam points himself out in one of Arnie Jarmak’s historic Chelsea Record photographs during the opening reception for Gallery 456 on Monday, July 16. The show was the first for the City-sponsored gallery in the old Salvation Army Store. Jarmak was a staff photographer for the Record in the 1970s and captured thousands of images of the city and its people. His show will be displayed at Boston College later this year, but will remain in Chelsea through September.

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Eversource’s Main Street Energy Efficiency Program Delivers Big Savings to Chelsea’s Small Business Community

Eversource’s Main Street Energy Efficiency Program Delivers Big Savings to Chelsea’s Small Business Community

For small business owners looking to make energy-saving improvements to their store or shop, it can sometimes be

Eversource workers helping Chelsea businesses be more energy efficient.

difficult due to the lack of time or available resources. That’s why Eversource recently partnered with the City of Chelsea and its authorized contractor, AECOM, to bring its Main Street program to more than 80 small businesses downtown.

From Washington Avenue to Broadway, a barbershop, bakery, furniture store, and printing shop are just some businesses that will collectively save nearly $150,000 in annual energy costs, thanks to the Main Street program.

B.D.’s Furniture was one business that received new energy-efficient lighting from the Main Street program.

“Customers keep telling me how great the store looks,” said store owner Arthur Tuffaha. “The entire process was easy. I was so impressed with the quality of work that I had my three other stores evaluated for energy efficiency upgrades.”

“Our Main Street program focuses on a specific neighborhood and provides personal attention to the small businesses within that community,” said Eversource Energy Efficiency Spokesman Bill Stack. “Working with a municipal partner, we do everything we can to make sure our customers really understand the energy-saving opportunities available to them. The City of Chelsea was a tremendous partner connecting our small business customers to solutions for savings.”

The Main Street energy efficiency program begins with a no-cost energy assessment conducted by an Eversource-authorized contractor identifying energy-saving opportunities such as new lighting, occupancy sensors, programmable thermostats and more. Some of the improvements, such as installing new energy-efficient light bulbs, occur right on the spot. Larger improvement projects, such as new HVAC or energy-efficient motor controls, are scheduled for direct installation at a future date and may qualify for Mass Save incentives to offset the cost of upgrades.

In addition to helping its retail customers, the program will also contribute to the City’s overall sustainability goals to be a cleaner, greener place. Over the next decade, the collective energy saved from the improvements could power approximately 1,300 homes for a year. The avoided CO-2 emissions are the equivalent of removing nearly 1,200 cars from the road for an entire year.

“The Main Street program has really enlivened our downtown area through the lighting upgrades, which I’m sure will help attract more business,” said Chelsea Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney. “But not only is it good for business, it’s also good for the environment. We’re located right under jets flying out of Logan Airport and face heavy emissions from trucks, so I always look at ways to curb carbon emissions. The best way to do so is to start with our business community. I enjoyed making introductions between the owners and Eversource and being a true ambassador of the program.”

Eversource recently started its preliminary Main Street program outreach in Natick. The company will soon be launching programs in Somerville and Springfield and is actively seeking other Eversource communities to participate.

For more information about Eversource’s energy efficiency programs, rebates and incentives, or to schedule an energy assessment for your business, visit the Save Money & Energy section of   Eversource.com or call 1-844-887-1400.

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