With $335K to award, Greenfield Community Preservation Committee begins review of applications

  • Clinical & Support Options was recently tapped by the state Department of Housing and Community Development to provide emergency shelter services to homeless adults starting in April 2023. Administrators are planning for a dramatic transformation of the existing emergency shelter at 60 Wells St. in Greenfield. CSO’s proposed design includes a renovation of the existing building, expanding shelter capacity from 30 to 40, and the construction of a three-story building that holds 36 new studio apartments. COURTESY IMAGE/JONES WHITSETT ARCHITECTS

  • Clinical & Support Options was recently tapped by the state Department of Housing and Community Development to provide emergency shelter services to homeless adults starting in April 2023. Administrators are planning for a dramatic transformation of the existing emergency shelter at 60 Wells St. in Greenfield. CSO’s proposed design includes a renovation of the existing building, expanding shelter capacity from 30 to 40, and the construction of a three-story building that holds 36 new studio apartments. COURTESY IMAGE/JONES WHITSETT ARCHITECTS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/4/2022 7:22:25 PM
Modified: 12/4/2022 7:22:03 PM

GREENFIELD — The Community Preservation Committee has started its review of the individuals, agencies and nonprofits that are seeking a portion of the $335,000 in funding to be spent in the 2022-2023 cycle.

“We received 17 pre-applications and 14 turned into full applications,” Christian LaPlante of the Community and Economic Development Department told members of the committee last week.

The project requests totaled $972,821, according to Community Preservation Committee Chair Travis Drury. Of the applications, $100,000 was requested for housing, $96,345 for historical preservation and $776,476 for recreation and open space.

The funds — which were generated through the city’s participation in a state program that allows a 1% surcharge on property taxes — can be allocated to support projects submitted by individuals, community groups, nonprofits and government bodies that enhance affordable housing, historic preservation and outdoor recreation/open space. Greenfield voters adopted the Community Preservation Act (CPA) in November 2020.

In its prior review of the Community Preservation Plan, the committee — which is made up of representatives from various commissions in town, including the Greenfield Housing Authority, the Recreation Commission, the Conservation Commission and the Historical Commission — prioritized urgent projects, housing needs, preserving architecture and increasing open space. At their first meeting with the public in July, Community Preservation Committee members discussed areas or projects that were of particular priority to their respective commissions.

Applications will be reviewed through February, with the committee expected to vote on its recommendations in March. The process will include opportunities for public comment and a public hearing. After that, City Council will consider the committee’s recommendations and make final decisions as to which projects will receive funding.

CSO’s homeless shelter renovations, extra housing

The sole application in the housing category was submitted by Clinical & Support Options Inc. (CSO), seeking $100,000 to put toward renovating the homeless shelter at 60 Wells St. and the addition of a new, three-story building with 36 studio apartments for individuals who have incomes at or below 30% area median income. The $23.4 million project, which includes the addition of 10 more beds at the shelter, aims to “make strides in filling some of the need in our community,” according to Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority Housing Development Director Alyssa Larose.

“There’s not a lot of housing for a lot of people, but for the chronically homeless population, it’s a yearly struggle,” she said. “It’s been that way for a long time in Greenfield.”

The application included letters of support from several state legislators, the Community Health Center of Franklin County, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and Housing Greenfield. Housing Greenfield’s letter was penned by Susan Worgaftik, who also serves as a member of the Community Preservation Committee.

According to CSO representatives, the expectation is to break ground in the summer, after the agency officially takes over management of the Wells Street shelter that is now run by ServiceNet. Last month, CSO was awarded the state contract to provide emergency shelter services starting in April 2023.

Responding to comments from committee members about the request — an amount equal to roughly one-third of the total available funding — Larose emphasized that it is important for the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development to see that the city “has skin in the game.”

“We recognize it’s a big ask,” she said.

Franklin County Fairgrounds barn repairs

Community Preservation Committee members also reviewed the application of Franklin County Agricultural Society President Michael Nelson, who is seeking roughly $80,000 to support a $160,000 barn rehabilitation project. The project includes structural, electrical and roof rehabilitation, and whitewashing of three cattle barns and one sheep barn at the Franklin County Fairgrounds.

The application includes letters of support from organizations that have used the space, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Historical Commission. The Historical Commission’s letter was signed by Chair John Passiglia, who also sits on the Community Preservation Committee and is a member of the agricultural society’s board of directors.

Nelson told committee members that the last significant rehabilitation to the barns was in the 1980s.

“Over 30 years, a lot of things start to go downhill very quickly,” Nelson said.

Committee members asked Nelson if he had obtained a quote for roof work, to which Nelson responded that he had, but left it off to avoid any potential conflict of naming a local business in the application. Members agreed the quote could be provided with the business redacted from the application itself.

“If we didn’t get funding, we would probably still move forward with this project,” Nelson said. “We would quite honestly have to take out a loan.”

Highland Park water fountain

The last of the three projects reviewed during last week’s meeting seeks just under $30,000 for a new water fountain at Highland Park. The application, submitted by Brian Lamore, aims to replace the existing fountain with a more efficient version that includes a bottle refill station.

“It’s not as grandiose as putting in housing, so that’s a tough act to follow,” Lamore said. “Our goal is to increase the enjoyment of the people who use Highland Park.”

The project comes with support from the Recreation Department, the Greenfield Tennis Association and the Recreation Commission. The Recreation Commission’s letter has a signature from Community Preservation Committee member Donna DuSell.

Recreation Director Christy Moore noted that the dollar amount is in recognition of the fact that the project, which includes the replacement of copper piping, would follow the bid process, as the Department of Public Works is “thin and maxed out with many other projects.”

Drury said the next Community Preservation Committee meeting date has not yet been determined, but that public comment will likely be included on the agenda for future meetings.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.


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