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Study could lead to funding for downtown improvements

GREENFIELD — The town has begun working with Franklin Regional Council of Governments to study areas, especially downtown, which could become blighted, with the hope that the study will eventually lead to Greenfield receiving funding for improvements.

“The Downtown Greenfield Slum and Blight Study will allow the town to identify deteriorated properties and infrastructure on which it can focus and prioritize its efforts and resources,” said Megan Rhodes, FRCOG transportation and land use planner.

The study will also evaluate the status of the town’s sewer, water system, lighting and sidewalks, said Alice Connelley, the town’s grants administrator.

The town plans to identify “marginal” properties that could deteriorate if left alone.

If the town receives funding to revitalize any areas in the future, the money might be used to create a sign and facade improvement program, upgrade public infrastructure, rehabilitate commercial buildings and housing, improve the accessibility of the area by removing architectural barriers, eliminate health and safety problems or building code violations, and conduct other activities that support neighborhood revitalization.

The study, which is made possible by a $100,000 Mini Entitlement Fund grant from the Massachusetts Department of Community and Housing Development, is expected to be complete by December 2014.

The areas that will be studied are in the town’s Central Commercial zoning district, which is located mostly in the downtown and includes about 250 buildings, as well as sidewalks and roads.

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