SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 29, 2010

Housing Authority receives $454K for heating systems

By Matthew K. Roy
Staff writer

PEABODY — The city's Housing Authority has received $454,075 in federal stimulus money to upgrade the heating systems at two of its properties.

The money is part of $4.49 million the state is distributing to seven housing authorities throughout Massachusetts to replace old, inefficient heating systems with new, state-of-the-art units. Nahant, meanwhile, will use its share to install new energy-efficient windows at a family public housing development.

"This investment will help us to strengthen communities, save money and put people back to work," Gov. Deval Patrick said in a press release. "Most importantly, it will allow us to improve the quality of life for residents across the commonwealth by giving them a cleaner and healthier environment."

Peabody will use the money to put new boilers in 40 units of its 68-unit facility on Veterans Memorial Drive. The unaffected units at that facility had their heating system replaced after the 2006 flood.

The Housing Authority will also replace all 15 boilers at its facility on Goldberg Road. The projects will be put out to bid within the next few weeks, Executive Director Anne Marie Burns said.

"It is huge for our tenants, and it's huge for us," Burns said.

Tenants will save money on their utility bills, and the authority will save money on repairing aging systems, she said. Veterans Memorial Drive and Goldberg Road are occupied by families.

The $4.49 million is part of $25 million set aside for public housing energy upgrades out of $122 million in stimulus funds allotted to Massachusetts last fall for weatherization services to low-income homes.

In addition to Nahant and Peabody, the communities of Everett, Millbury, Northampton, Natick, Westborough and West Springfield received money.