Bernardston to host hearing on community development grants

  • A public hearing regarding use of a Community Development Block Grant awarded to Bernardston, Gill and Rowe will be held Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. in Bernardston Town Hall.

Recorder Staff
Thursday, September 07, 2017

BERNARDSTON — Those curious to know how a Community Development Block Grant has been spent in Bernardston, Gill and Rowe are encouraged to attend a public hearing Wednesday.

The hearing, which will be held at 6:05 p.m. at Bernardston Town Hall during a regularly scheduled Selectboard meeting, will allow residents of the three towns to weigh in on the accomplishments of the $1 million grant awarded for fiscal year 2016. According to the hearing notice, representatives from the Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) will attend to discuss programs the grant supports.

Jen Morrow, community development administrative assistant for HRA, said the grant often supports roof, septic and structural repairs, insulation and weatherization projects, and bringing electrical and plumbing systems up to code for residents with low to moderate incomes. For example, Morrow said a four-person family with an income of less than $64,000 would be eligible.

Using the funding, Morrow said HRA offers interest-free loans of up to $30,000, and up to $35,000 in the case of larger projects like septic repairs. The loans offer deferred payment.

According to the hearing notice, the $1 million grant, which was split between the three towns, has also supported a fuel assistance program administered by Community Action.

Prior to receiving the FY16 grant, Bernardston Town Coordinator Hugh Campbell said Bernardston received another Community Development Block Grant along with Conway, Shutesbury and Sunderland in FY13. As the lead community for the grant, Campbell said Bernardston handles billing.

Morrow said there’s still funding available for several projects in all three towns, and invites interested residents to contact her at 413-863-9781, ext. 137 or at jmorrow@fcrhra.org, or attend the hearing to learn more.