Menino: stimulus created many jobs, preserved hundreds more

Mayor Thomas Menino used the occasion of a Tuesday visit to Codman Square to discuss the controversial federal economic stimulus act that he said has directly led to 1,349 new jobs in the city and the preservation of another 317, according to new city data.

Facing the stiffest reelection challenge of his 16-year term, the mayor said that 1,086 construction jobs have emerged since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed six months ago, along with 237 so-called green jobs, and 26 new “light-industry” positions. Through stop-gap funding under the law, which has come under attack from Republicans as squandering public dollars, 101 police officer and 216 teaching and educations posts have been preserved, according to Menino’s office.

Additionally, the $787 billion effort, from which Massachusetts as a whole is expected to draw up to $9 billion if competitive grants are awarded, allowed for 850 summer jobs for youths and job training for 232 people in Boston.

Dorchester is scheduled to get some $16.5 million of the stimulus funds to help reconstruct 15 intersections along Dorchester Avenue from South Boston south into Dorchester, a project the mayor promised as far back as 2004, and ramped up the next year, the last time he was up for reelection. That project is pegged for 104 construction jobs.

Separately, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation will be partaking in $720,000 in brownfields development funds for two sites it owns in Dorchester: the former Levedo Motors site at the corner of Mallard Ave. and Talbot Ave., and the AB&W Building at 157 Washington St.

The Levedo Motors site used to house an auto dealer. The NDC is cleaning up the area in an attempt to turn it into a building with 24 low-income rental units and 700 square feet of first floor commercial space. The mayor’s office says an estimated 2,200 tons of contaminated soil must be removed, and the project has received an additional $1.2 million from the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development.

The AB&W building will be turned into a 3 ½ story building with 24 co-op units and 3,7000 square feet of commercial space. The Department of Neighborhood Development is providing $1.75 million for the project.

Menino said the city has seen 41 projects launched and directly invested just under $173 million from the federal stimulus. Mayoral aides added that Washington aid helped launch a $10 million bathroom modernization effort in Boston Housing Authority buildings and goosed housing developments that had been bogged down, including $10 million for Roslindale’s Washington Beech project.

Some of the funds have gone to long-promised capital improvement efforts.

Menino is encountering challenges from at-large City Councillors At-Large Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, and entrepreneur Kevin McCrea, all of whom are faulting him for his management of city affairs.

The city’s release of employment estimates contrasts with the Patrick administration’s reluctance to estimate the level of job creation and preservation statewide. Patrick budget chief.

Leslie Kirwan earlier this month said it would be “irresponsible” to try to peg how many jobs were owed to the federal package, in part because of the complexity of the federal guidelines. Patrick aides say they’ll have firm numbers before an October 10 federal deadline.

In a briefing to lawmakers on Aug. 13, Patrick aides said the state had spent roughly half of the $4.44 million Washington had sent its way so far, good for seventh in the nation in expedience.

The nearly $173 million Boston has spent has helped leverage another $163 million in funding from other sources, Menino said.

Aides said the city was looking for another $250 million in ARRA dollars “to further increase opportunity for Boston residents and businesses.”