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The Cheshire Selectmen approved joint grant application with the town of New Marlborough for housing rehabilitation funds.

New Marlborough to Join Cheshire Grant Application

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — New Marlborough has agreed to join the town's CDBG Housing Rehabilitation grant application.

The Selectmen updated some of the grant paperwork Tuesday after Town Administrator Mark Webber told them that the New Marlborough Board of Selectmen gave the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission its blessing earlier this week.  

"They met last night, and they are on board," Webber said.

The town will apply for a Community Development Block Grant for Housing Rehabilitation through BRPC, which could provide both towns with funds that qualifying residents can dip into to make improvements to their homes.

A representative from BRPC recommended submitting a regional application with New Marlborough to make the application more competitive.

Because of a recent holiday, the New Marlborough Selectmen did not meet, however, they were able to meet Monday and accepted the agreement.

Webber said he was told that there was some hesitancy on New Marlborough's part because they thought Cheshire would overpower them if the grant is received.  

"They were a little worried that we would be the lead town and handle all of the funds," Webber said. "…But I think we are all friends at this point."

Both towns can only receive a certain amount and the towns cannot alter this amount between them. The towns can apply for up to $1 million: If they get the maximum amount, $600,000 would go to Cheshire and $200,000 would go to New Marlborough.

The rest of the funds would go toward administering the application and grant.

In other business, the Selectmen asked Highway Department Superintendent Blair Crane what the status was on the Cheshire School generator.

"It is something we should have working," Selectman Robert Ciskowski said. "Otherwise we would be trying to figure it out during a blackout or a storm."

Crane said last time he checked, the generator had dead batteries and needed an oil change. He said he is hesitant to start it up.

"It is very possible that it has the initial tank of fuel in it which makes me leery to run it in the first place," he said. "Fuel does have a shelf life and I'd be hesitant to fire it up with the original fuel in it."

Selectwoman Carol Francesconi said the Fire Department would run the generator weekly when the school was open.

Crane said he suspects getting the generator up to working condition would just take some time – something he just hasn't had recently.  

"It just takes hours at this point we haven't had but it is on the list to get after," he said.

Also in regard to the closed school, the board gave Selectman Edmund St. John IV permission to bring on EDM Architects to survey the school.

"They are familiar with the building and over the next day or so will send us a proposal detailing the scope of the project," he said.

The town wants to possibly lease the building but before it sends out any kind of request for proposals, they wanted to get a firm grip on the condition of the building.

St. John said the survey could be finished in four weeks and would cost up to $10,000.

St John also said he walked though the school with CTC to go over new temperature-control equipment the town wants to install.

"They are working on setting it up so the old part of the building can connect to the new so everything can be consistent and eventually remotely controlled," he said 

Tags: CDBG,   cheshire school,   Housing program,   

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