Michelle Wu vetoes Dorchester Field House money, approves $362 million in Boston ARPA funds

Mayor Michelle Wu has vetoed City Councilor Frank Baker’s controversial amendment to use federal aid money for a Dorchester field house, the mayor wrote in a letter saying she would approve the rest of the $362 million package.

Reached by phone, Baker said he was “disappointed” if “not surprised” about the $5 million veto for the fieldhouse.

He said that if we had the commitment from the city, we could put shovels in the ground in the next two months.

In total, the mayor signed more than $344 million in general recovery funds that went to various city initiatives, particularly focused around housing, as well as more specific efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic. 17 million dollars for All of that money came from the American Rescue Plan Act bill that passed the feds last year, and the money will be spent over the next three years.

On the vetoed portion, Wu pointed to the partial approval in a letter to the city clerk, saying, “My disapproval is that the City of Boston’s portion of these one-time ARPA funds should be spent on capital projects. Will be used for public infrastructure with lasting impact rather than complementing nonprofit capital projects that can access private fundraising.

Wu’s office declined to comment further, citing the letter, which was first reported by GBH.

Most of the efforts in the package were broadly supported by the council after they were proposed by the mayor, but an uproar erupted in June when Baker, who gave some city cash to the proposed Dorchester Field House. Hearings were being held on the side, which would be constructed. As a partnership between the Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester and the Martin Richard Foundation, named for the young victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Wu had told councilors that ARPA should not have any funding for certain nonprofit capital projects, but Baker convinced his fellow councilors enough to agree to the amendment for the Fieldhouse. No one specifically objected to the field house as a project, but some, including City Councilor Kenzie Bock, who chairs the committee that oversees ARPA funding, said she opposed the amendment. Kay, fearing that the mayor would veto the entire package, holding onto the money.

Baker, who had been the mayor throughout the process and then during a hearing in Bock in which he weighed a proposal to repeal the amendment, opted to stay involved when the administration decided he had the line. Option to veto the item. Instead of giving yes or no to the whole package.

Although some councilors raised some complaints that Baker’s amendments were included when others didn’t think they could include them for their district, the ARPA package ultimately passed unanimously.

“Despite the disagreement on this one item, I am pleased that the Mayor and Council were able to agree on $362 million in immediate funding priorities that include affordable housing, climate The changes will affect work, child care, public health, and an equitable economic recovery.