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The Selectmen also discussed the upcoming CDBG application.

Adams to Receive $2.3 Million In COVID-19 Relief Funding

By Gregory FournieriBerkshires Correspondent
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ADAMS, Mass.— The Selectmen held a broad conversation during the board's recent workshop meeting about the $2.3 million the town is slated to receive through the American Recovery Plan.

"This program … is definitely a complicated program," Town Administrator Jay Green told the Selectmen on Wednesday.

Town Accountant Crystal Wojcik detailed the restrictions on what the funds can be used for. There are five main areas where the town can use the money: to support public health expenditures; to address economic suffering caused by COVID-19; to replace lost public sector revenue; to provide premium pay for essential workers; and to invest in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

Green said Adams is receiving less than other surrounding communities. For example, Pittsfield is getting closer to $30 million.

Selectman Joseph Nowak asked Wojcik if the distribution had anything to do with political favoritism, but both Green and Wojcik said they were certain the funds were allocated based on an algorithm used by the U.S. Treasury. The algorithm, they said, is likely based on population, among other things.

No votes were taken during this meeting since it was a workshop meeting but the topic is sure to come up again for more detailed discussion.

In other business, the Selectmen reviewed possible projects for the upcoming Community Development Block Grant application. 

Eammon Coughlin, of the Community Development Department, briefed the board on potential projects the department plan to apply for in the upcoming Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant cycle. 

"The town has had a long history of successful CDBG applications," Coughlin said.

As the town does every grant cycle, it will apply for housing rehab funds that will allow residents to make improvements to their homes.

This year, the grant application will include funds to rehabilitate 10 to 15 housing units, an increase from six to eight in the typical year. 

The units themselves can be single-family or apartment buildings, each unit of which counts toward the 10 to 15 that the town plans on revamping. The plan is to request $30,000 per unit, totaling close to half a million dollars in federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Most of the development will go toward modernizing some of the 80-plus-year-old buildings along Route 8.

"We just want to make [the buildings] code-compliant and bring them to contemporary usage," Director of special Projects Donna Cesan said.  

She said this will also "allow [seniors] to age in place."

The maximum amount of money that the town is eligible to apply for is $1.35 million. The total amount available across the state is $25 million. The Department hasn’t finalized their total request yet, but they do plan on asking for more than the half-million for housing.

As discussed in January, the town does still plan to apply for funds to develop the Hoosac Valley Coal and Grain park on Cook Street.

The park will preserve the historic grain elevator and feature a central walkway, a dog park, a playground/sitting area, and a direct connection to the Ashuwilticook Rail Trail. The town may also add some railroad imagery or art pieces to tie the park into its surroundings.

The project is estimated to cost $560,000.

Tags: CDBG,   COVID-19,   

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Adams Board of Health to Rewrite COVID-19 Directive

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health will rewrite its COVID-19 Public Health Directive to establish more clarity in the advisory document.
The board said it will reconsider some of the wording and content, and Chairman David Rhoads agreed to pass the advisory document off to member Peter Hoyt.
"I guess what we are reiterating is what we have been saying for the past 15 months: wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, and by the way there is a vaccine out there," Hoyt said. "... I think what we are trying to do is just reiterate that we don't want things to spiral out of control again."
On Sept. 9, the Board of Health held an emergency meeting to discuss the directive that asks the town to re-up its efforts to combat COVID-19 with more stringent mask and sanitation policies.
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