Re-enactors fire one final volley on the Old North Bridge. Photo by Jennifer Lord Paluzzi

$1 million for 2025 celebrations headed to governor for approval

By Anne O’Connor
July 31, 2023

Startup money for the 250th anniversary celebration of the American Revolution in 2025 is included in a $1 million amendment just approved by legislators and first offered by state Sen. Mike Barrett. 

“With this first major round of funding, we can get serious about telling our story to the nation and the world in the course of marking a high-profile milestone,” Barrett said. 

Barrett is chair of the finance subcommittee of a new statewide commission created last year to oversee the promotion and planning of the 250th birthday for Massachusetts. He first broached the subject of state budget funding to Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll last December. He followed up in February of this year when Gov. Maura Healey visited Drumlin Farm in Lincoln.

“In terms of keeping the $1 million intact through an arduous budgetary process, the governor, the lieutenant governor, Senate President Spilka and Speaker Mariano are the key players,” Barrett said. “With their help and effective pushing by a powerhouse delegation — state reps. Simon Cataldo, Michelle Ciccolo, Carmine Gentile, Ken Gordon, and Alice Peisch — we got this done. I am very happy.”

President Ulysses S. Grant came to the area in 1875 to help celebrate the Revolution’s 100th birthday and President Gerald Ford came in 1975, for the 200th. 

“All of which suggests the 250th should bring crowds and traffic, which will be challenging,” Barrett said. 

“The assets that we need to manage this are very substantial,” said Henry Dane, chair of Concord’s Select Board and chair of the Concord 2025 Executive Committee. “I’m grateful to Sen. Barrett for his efforts. One must always be optimistic.” 

However, the $1 million in state funding, if approved, will likely be split between many communities, he said, The Concord committee’s last shot to request funds from the town will be at Town Meeting in April 2024.

“My district has a lot riding on getting the 250th right,” said Barrett who represents Lincoln, Lexington and Concord, “But, then, so do Boston, Cambridge, and Arlington — three other communities in the line of march — not to mention Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, Framingham, Braintree, Medford, Worcester, Somerville, and other places that played important roles in the Revolutionary story.” 

The entire state budget, including the funding for the 250th, now goes to the governor, who has 10 days to consider whether or not to sign the document and possibly veto individual line items. 

“I happen to know that Gov. Healey has taken a personal interest in helping our towns and the Commonwealth gear up for 2025,” Barrett said. “I’m confident this line item will survive her review.”