City Applied for Appropriation Funding Distributed by Congress to Fund the Renovation Project

Facility will Act as a Resiliency Hub and House Recreation Department Run Afterschool Programming

The City of Medford has applied for over $2 million in federal funding to transform the Dorothy T. Hegner Center into a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness site serving the community in a variety of essential functions, Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn announced. The site will also host after-school programming and other community-oriented recreation activities when not being used during emergencies.

Medford’s application centered on the current lack of a community space that staff hope to use to coordinate emergency response and serve as a resiliency hub for residents during climate emergencies. The administration seized on the opportunity to secure federal funding to help renovate and restore the center ensuring that an accessible, resilient and safe facility can be utilized for sheltering and informing the community without putting financial constraints on the public.

“Protecting and assisting our community, especially our marginalized population, is an essential part of government and if successful with this grant application, we have the opportunity to expand access to resources and aid by renovating the Hegner Center,” Mayor Lungo-Koehn said. “This is meaningful and transformative endeavor that can have a lasting impact on our community. Thank you to our Communications Director, Steve Smirti for spearheading the application process and to our Board of Health Director and Emergency Response Director MaryAnn O’Connor, Prevention and Outreach Manager Penelope Funaiole, Planning, Development and Sustainability Director Alicia Hunt and Facilities Manager Paul Righi, along with staff in my office for helping to craft a comprehensive application for consideration.”

As part of the federal budget process, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate release Congressionally Directed Spending opportunities for municipalities to apply for. Working with Medford’s federal delegation, the City administration applied for funding in both chambers. The release of funding is contingent on the federal omnibus bill passing both chambers as well as inclusion of the grant requirements in the bill language.

“We learned from the pandemic that we must prioritize and strengthen our emergency preparedness so we can be as adept and agile as possible in the event of disaster,” Emergency Response Director and Board of Health Director MaryAnn O’Connor said. “If approved, this grant funding will have an impact on our ability to protect our residents and supply them with resources and tools during climate and other emergencies in a much more efficient and accessible way. Thank you to the Mayor and her team for identifying this opportunity and coordinating the grant application process.”

Aiding in the City’s climate resiliency strategy is a State Municipal Vulnerability Program Grant, secured by our Board of Health, that will help strengthen community relationships with underserved populations, expand the City’s emergency preparedness strategies, and increase accessible communications to non-English speakers in Medford. This grant, coupled with the Congressionally Directed Spending will strengthen the City’s emergency efforts.

The City envisions minimal traffic and parking constraints on the area due to the low impact uses. This makes the facility an ideal location.

The City’s federal application was supported by community organizations including, Sanctuary United Church of Christ, Parents Working for Better Medford Public Schools as well as the City’s Police and Fire Departments, and the Medford State Government delegation.