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The Selectmen had applied for the first time for a Community Development Block Grant for housing rehabilitation.

Cheshire Misses Out on Community Block Grant for Housing Rehab

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Cheshire officials had hoped to capture up to $600,000 to help low- to medium-income homeowners make upgrades to their homes.
 
But last week's list of Community Development Community Block Grant beneficiaries didn't have the town listed.
 
"We scored well but not well enough, and I guess a lot of applicants aren't successful on their first try," Town Administrator Mark Webber informed the Selectmen on Tuesday.
 
Only three Berkshire communities received grants in this round of funding: Adams, Becket and North Adams. 
 
The Selectmen agreed to apply for the grant some months ago for housing rehabilitation. The federal CDBG grants, administered by the state, help cities and towns respond to specific housing, community, and economic development projects that support low- and moderate-income residents, or revitalize underserved areas.
 
This was the town's first attempt for the competitive grant funds and more than 50 residents had signed up in anticipation of the program.
 
Webber said the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, which would have administered the grant, will provide a report of shortcomings in the application.
 
The $60,000 the town allocated for its share of the program will return to the general fund.
 
The town can apply again next year. 
 
In other business, Webber reported that the Adams-Cheshire Regional School District will have a new lease agreement for Cheshire Elementary School ready next week. 
 
Even though the school is closed, the district still wants to use the building for its central office.
 
• Highway Superintendent Blair Crane said he had to clean up an oil spill on West Mountain Road last week.
 
"I put down some Speedi-Dri because I was afraid someone over the weekend on a motorcycle might get over there and get into it," he said. "I did what I could ... it was a few hundred yards."
 
He could not pinpoint where the spill came from. 
 
Crane said a scanning process of the streets has been completed and that the program is now in the analytical phase.
 
"All of the roads have been scanned and all that has been done," he said. "The legwork is done." 
 
The town used Chapter 90 road funds for the program that digitizes roadways to track their condition and status. It will allow the town to project road conditions and prepare for future projects.
 
• A citizens' petition with more than 200 signatures was submitted requesting an article on next town ballot to adopt a general law provision that would legally allow the town to provide snow and ice removal on unaccepted roads.
 
Although town meeting recently accepted the provision, the question also must be approved by a ballot vote.
 
The roads in question have historically been plowed but cannot legally be accepted by the town because they do not meet specifications. Many of these roads are as old as the town and would have to be re-engineered to be accepted.  
 
Resident Eileen Quinn asked for the Selectmen's blessing to pursue becoming an Appalachian Trail Community. 
 
"It puts Cheshire on the map and brings more awareness to the town," she said. "It helps educate people on the trail and many do not know the trail goes through town. I think there are a lot of benefits." 
 
The town would have to form a committee but the designation is free and the process would likely take a year. North Adams became the state's second trail community last year. 

Tags: Appalachian Trail,   CDBG,   

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