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The town has received a nearly $1 million grant for housing improvement.

Cheshire Receives Housing Grant

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Along with New Marlborough, the town will receive $998,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds through the Department of Housing and Community Development for housing rehabilitation.

Selectwoman Carol Francesconi read a letter from the state Tuesday that notified the town that has received $998,000 that will be split proportionally between Cheshire and New Marlborough.

"We just have to wait on the contract," she said.

In January, the town applied for up to $1 million through the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission with New Marlborough to make the application more competitive. Qualified homeowners can use the funds to make updates to their homes.

The money will be split proportionately, and Cheshire will receive approximately $600,000 and New Marlborough will receive $200,000. The balance would go toward grant administration and project delivery.

Town Administrator Mark Webber said the town still has to get the official contract signed by the state.

He said the start day for the grant was July 1 and ends in 18 months.

"We will be two months behind before we even start," Webber said.

Webber said BRPC will do some preliminary work and DHCD often allows extensions to projects.

In other business, Webber said there has been some movement on the town's initiative to increase the size of the select board from three to five members and it is now in the hands of state representatives.

"Representative [John] Barrett III requested hard copies to be mailed to the State House office and once received, he will start the process with Senator [Adam] Hinds as a co-sponsor," Webber said. "He has not given a time frame."

Webber said the town will soon replace a booster pump in a water pump on upper Route 8 that should improve water distribution in the East Harbor Road area.

"Apparently it hasn't been working for some time … so after tomorrow, they will have more water than they can handle," Webber said.

Webber said the town's roller that was hit by a vehicle while parked was determined to be totaled by the insurance company. The town will receive full replacement value.

The selectmen shard their revulsion with a proposition from Bay State Elevator to replace a light bulb in the town hall elevator for $635.90.

"Where are these light bulbs I will change them myself," Francesconi said. "What is wrong with this world … we have no choice I have to sign this."

Webber said if the town does not have them replace the bulb, the company will likely not inspect the elevator and the town would be fined.

Francesconi read the proposal that stated the emergency car alarm bell and light are not in working order and need to be replaced.

The letter also stated that the price includes material, equipment, and labor. Bay State Elevator asked for two hours of uninterrupted time to replace the bulb and noted it may find other implements that may need to be fixed.

Tags: CDBG,   federal grants,   Housing program,   

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Cheshire Receives Multiple Bids For Maple Drive, Grader

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Covid-19 virus and its related restrictions on gatherings and social interactions has not stopped the Selectmen from nearly finalizing two projects they have been working on since last year. 
The Maple Drive paving project was put out to bid last spring and received no responses. The request for proposal was broadened and reissued recently and attracted five bidders. At a virtual meeting Wednesday night, Town Administrator Edmund St. John IV opened each of them and let all interested parties know the results via webcam. 
The bids ranged from just over $115,000 to nearly $170,000 to perform a total resurfacing, catch basin repair, and sidewalk and curb work. The town will be utilizing state issued Chapter 90 road funds for the project.
Given the unique nature of current municipal meetings, Chairman Robert Ciskowski felt the board members needed a day to digest the numbers after they received them from St. John.
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