Twelve Community Preservation Act projects aired in Greenfield

The Community Preservation Commitee solicited public feedback on projects seeking Community Preservation Act funding Thursday night.

The Community Preservation Commitee solicited public feedback on projects seeking Community Preservation Act funding Thursday night. STAFF PHOTO/CHRIS LARABEE

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-26-2024 12:32 PM

Modified: 02-26-2024 3:30 PM


GREENFIELD — With about a month before the Community Preservation Committee votes on funding recommendations, the public got a chance Thursday evening to voice its support for various projects, including a Habitat for Humanity home, downtown housing projects and repair of the Greenfield Garden Cinema’s facade.

Twelve projects are up for Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding this year and the committee must determine which ones they will recommend for funding to the City Council. A total pool of $300,000 is available to spend with $26,450 set aside for each of the three categories of recreation, housing and historic projects. The remaining $220,650 is available to use towards any project. The full list of project applications can be found online at bit.ly/41rbKQb.

The committee will reconvene next month to discuss public feedback from Thursday’s meeting, as well as online public comment forms, which are being accepted through the end of February. The public comment form can be found on the Community Preservation Committee’s webpage or at this link: bit.ly/4bLrsL3.

“We’re trying to get public feedback on which projects are most important to be funded this year,” said committee Chairman Travis Drury. “Please fill out the survey online, we got a lot of great data from that last year and it really helped us see what people’s priorities were.”

Projects this year vary from historic document preservation at the City Clerk’s office, housing at 156-176 Main St., a Habitat for Humanity project slated for 184 Petty Plain Road and numerous recreation proposals, including pickleball courts, Hillside Park improvements and numerous amenities at parks around the city.

Mariah Kurtz, president of the Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity’s board of directors, said the organization’s project on Petty Plain Road is an all-electric, one-bedroom home that will be an opportunity for someone to purchase an affordable home. Habitat for Humanity is requesting $15,000 in funding from the city and will fund the remaining $260,000 through other sources.

“It gives people the opportunity, who are a single person or even a couple, to have a home,” Kurtz said, adding that her own experience as a homeowner in Greenfield has been wonderful. “I would really like to be able to extend that to more people.”

The project also is being supported by Community Action Pioneer Valley and its Executive Director Clare Higgins, who wrote a letter of support in the project application.

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Another project supported by a handful of residents in attendance was the repair of the Greenfield Garden Cinemas’ facade, referred to as the “Garden Block building.” Theater co-owner Isaac Mass is seeking $34,800 from the city to remediate blight and historic preservation to foster downtown economic development. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I think it’s a real treasure we have in this theater … it’s really important to support and recognize how lucky we are to have it. I think this project would help to make it look even better,” said resident Jeremy Ebersole. He said a face-lift of the building will attract more people downtown “in the evenings and throughout the weekend and those people are spending money at the neighboring restaurants and stores.”

Other projects supported by those in attendance include the downtown housing project at 156-176 Main St., which is proposed by Franklin & Main LLC, with Timothy Grader listed as the application’s contact.

The project requests $50,000 to complete “due diligence activities to develop a housing concept that is responsive to community needs, financially feasible and competitive,” for funding, while also enhancing the vibrancy of downtown Greenfield through a mix of apartment units, according to the application. If pursued, the project will be done in partnership with Rural Development Inc.

“We do need to increase the amount of housing in the area, that’s obvious,” said resident Carol Letson. “Whatever can be done to support additional housing downtown, I really want to encourage you to consider that.”

The public comment Google Form closes on Feb. 29 and residents are encouraged to fill it out. The Community Preservation Committee will discuss projects and feedback on March 21 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall and on Zoom and then will reconvene on March 28 to vote on recommendations to City Council.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.