Seven towns share $3.7M in development grants

  • The First National Bank building on Bank Row in Greenfield will receive $78,167 in Community Development Block Grant funding for improvements. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2019 5:36:44 PM

Seven towns in Franklin County will share more than $3.7 million in Community Development Block Grants this year for everything from housing rehabilitation and infrastructure improvements, to providing financial assistance to veterans, youth, elders and food pantries.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced recently that the federal grants that are administered and awarded through the state Department of Housing and Community Development totaled $34 million this year, and will help 63 cities and towns statewide.

Community Development Block Grants help municipalities address important local needs, including infrastructure improvements, housing rehabilitation, micro-enterprise or other business assistance, community and public facilities improvement, planning, social services, accessibility, and downtown and other revitalization.

Greenfield will receive $825,000 for the rehabilitation of three apartments, public facility improvements, design work for future West Street infrastructure improvements, a commercial rehabilitation program, and support for elder services and a local food pantry.

Greenfield Director of Community and Economic Development MJ Adams said social services received $83,616. The Center for Self Reliance got funding for its food pantry, while the city’s Council on Aging (COA) will use its funding for its ongoing Healthy Aging program and LifePath, which in partnership with the COA, will put its share toward new congregate meals.

According to a list of projects, three apartments will be rehabilitated in early 2020. Those projects, which will receive a total of $134,549, have not yet been identified. There is a waiting list that the city is working through.

Infrastructure will receive $466,662 and will include design and engineering for water and sewer on West Street, rehabilitation of Hope Street’s sidewalks from Olive to Russell streets, and GCET fiber and access point installation.

Adams said there will also be improvements made to the former First National Bank on Bank Row at a cost of $78,167 and grant administration will be done at a cost of $62,006.

Other communities received Community Development Block Grant money, including Montague, which will receive $612,065 to renovate Spinner Park on Avenue A and to provide financial support social services, including family counseling, recovery counseling, a meals program and youth services.

Buckland will receive $303,335 for infrastructure improvements to Williams Street, as well as to support a local food pantry, while Orange will receive $550,000 to provide housing rehabilitation and fund social service agencies.

Shelburne will receive $482,933 for upper Deerfield Avenue infrastructure improvements, and it will support a local food pantry, and Wendell and Shutesbury together will receive $825,000 to provide housing rehabilitation to 18 housing units.

Towns and cities hold public hearings to discuss with residents and receive input about where the money from the grants will be spent.

“The CDBG program is an asset for communities to pursue projects with positive impacts for residents, and we are proud to work with cities and towns to leverage this federal resource,” Baker said in a prepared statement.

The program is a competitive one authorized by Congress and funded under Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. Funds are allocated to the state through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since 2015, cities and towns across the state have received more than $144 million for numerous projects in 180 communities, including many in Franklin County.

Municipalities with populations of less than 50,000 that do not receive Community Development Block Grant funding directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development are eligible for state-level funding. Communities can also apply on behalf of a specific developer or property owner.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-0261, ext. 269 or afritz@recorder.com.




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