Clarksburg, Williamstown Awarded State Housing Grants

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Clarksburg was awarded $21,500 toward improvements for the Briggsville Water District.
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The town has received $21,500 in state grant funding for improvements to the Briggsville Water District. 
The funds come from nearly $5 million awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration through the Housing Choice Initiative. Also receiving funds are Egremont and Great Barrington and Williamstown.
The private water district was taken over last year by the town because of the cooperative's difficulty in finding trustees and addressing the significant infrastructure upgrades required for the more than 30-year-old district.
The district serves 68 housing units along River Road as well as the Town Hall and the Strong-Hewat Mill complex, which reportedly has an interested business requiring a dependable source of water. Improvements will include the purchase and installation of a master meter, onsite generator, propane tank, and a raw water tap/spigot for raw water testing prior to treatment. The improvements are expected to benefit future growth in the Briggsville section.
The administration awarded $4 million to 19 communities through the Housing Choice Capital Grant Program, and nearly $1 million to 12 communities through the Housing Choice Small Town Grant Program.
Clarksburg's funding comes through the initiative's Small Town Grant Program. Also receiving funds through that program is Egrement, which was awarded $100,000 for road construction and related infrastructure to create the town's first affordable units in partnership with non-profit Construct Inc., which will move two donated houses onto town land and fashion them into four units. 
Great Barrington also received $100,000 for downtown street rehabilitation that will fill a budget gap in the long-planned downtown street improvements project, funded in part by a 2015 MassWorks Infrastructure Program award. The streets included are Bridge Street, School Street, Church Street, Bentley Avenue and the "Taconic" parking lot in the downtown. The area is central to more than $110 million in investment in mixed-use developments supporting more than 100 multifamily housing-units and 160,000 square-feet of commercial space.
Williamstown was awarded $250,000 toward its new police station through the initiative's Capital Grant Program. 
The grant will pay for the necessary dispatch equipment and installation at the $5 million police facility on Simonds Road. New dispatch equipment will include antenna systems at the new site and relay improvements back to additional controls that will remain at Williamstown Town Hall. 
"Our administration is focused on developing a healthy housing market for Massachusetts' long-term success, with diverse housing options that are affordable for families and residents across the income spectrum," said Governor Charlie Baker. "The Housing Choice Initiative is a bold, multi-pronged effort to address the issue, from legislation to grant programs."
The administration announced in July the two new, competitive grant programs to provide new resources to communities pursuing high-impact housing and economic development projects. The Housing Choice Capital Grant Program is available for cities and towns designated as Housing Choice Communities, and the Housing Choice Small Town Capital Grant Program is available for towns with populations less than 7,000 people.

Tags: affordable housing,   drinking water,   police station,   state grant,   streetscape,   water district,   

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Debate Over Solar Carports Heats Up in Clarksburg

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

Planners Erin Scott, Gregory Vigna, Vincent King and Karin Robert look over the plans for the solar carports. 
CLARKSBURG, Mass. — The Planning Board says the structures at the former country club are ground-mounted solar arrays; the developer says they are carports with solar-panel roofs. 
The debate over the definition of the structures — and whether there was a permit issued for their construction — lead to heated exchanges between town officials and the owner at last week's Planning Board meeting. 
"They're solar arrays masquerading as carports," said Planning Board member Karin Robert.
The three structures were installed by BVD Solar, a solar development company owned by Todd Driscoll, who also owns the golf course. Driscoll pointed out several times during the evening that he does not own structures but builds them for solar companies. 
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