Friday, March 16, 2007
CPA funding considered for Greenough house demolition
With roughly $1.3 million dollars available in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) met March 5 to begin deliberations on which of seven spending proposals they might recommend to voters at Town Meeting on April 30.
Portions of the CPA funds are reserved for projects relating to open space preservation (10%), community housing (10%) and historic preservation (10%). The remaining 70% of the funds are undesignated and may be spent for any of these purposes or for public recreation on lands acquired with CPA funds. About $225,000 (this year's income) has not yet been allocated among the reserved categories, $495,000 is "undesignated," $208,000 is reserved for historic preservation, and $137,000 is for "community low- and moderate-income housing." (There is no money left in the open-space reserve because the yearly allotment is being used to help pay off the Benfield Land purchase.)
On the agenda were requests for signs on conservation land, demolition of a house on conservation land, and a survey of the town's elderly population. Also discussed were a late request for supplemental funding for walking paths throughout town.
Teardown at Greenough
Selectman Alan Carpenito brought a request from the Board of Selectmen for $20,000 (to be amended to $25,000 to allow more funds for asbestos removal) to demolish a house on the Greenough Conservation Land. Over the past decade many town officials have worried over and debated whether to rehabilitate or demolish the building. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) administers the Greenough Land and has endorsed the plan to tear down the structure.
The Selectmen's proposal defines the purpose of the funding, which would include the removal of hazardous materials prior to demolition, as removing a threat to public health and safety. Other benefits mentioned by CPC members would be to reduce a potential liability of the town and to "restore open space."
More expensive path surface
The largest potential request was from the Selectmen and the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee. They asked the CPC to consider a late proposal for funds of approximately $300,000 to supplement the $150,000 already approved by Town Meeting in 2003 for the Footpath Project to build paths along the town's five major roads (see "Costs rise to finish footpaths," Mosquito, March 9.) The project has since been scaled back to four paths, because of difficulties presented by the terrain along Westford Street.
In the absence of a representative from the pathways committee, Selectman and CPC member Tim Hult reported the committee had chosen asphalt as a better surface for the paths, following much research and several trials of possible surfaces. However, recognizing that asphalt might not be appropriate for the historic town center, the committee seeks the extra funds for an alternative that tops the asphalt with stones that reportedly appear more natural.
After some discussion of the alternative surface, the group agreed to consider the late proposal, if submitted within a week, at their next meeting March 20.
Consideration of a proposal to spend $25,000 to survey elderly residents was postponed in the absence of a representative from the Council on Aging (COA). According to the written description submitted, the main purpose of the project is "enhancement of recreational and other services to Carlisle's seniors" by surveying services needed or desired, comparing existing services to those offered by similar towns, identifying current and future services mandated by law, and projecting the need for future services and facilities.
CPC member Steve Perlman questioned whether such a purpose would be eligible for CPA funds. According to Hult, the COA believes it "fits," as the COA wants "to explore needs of seniors and educate people about their needs" for a community recreation center.
Guidelines on CPA funding and spending for town officials issued by the state property tax bureau and the Massachusetts Community Preservation Coalition state that CPA spending for recreation is limited to "the acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational use."
Signs on conservation lands
The Land Stewardship Committee, a subcommittee of the ConsCom, has requested $5,511 to replace or provide new signs on the seven conservation properties assessed so far: the Cranberry Bog, Davis Corridor, Foss Farm, Fox Hill, Towle Field, Robbins/Hutchins Field and Town Forest. The existing signs, if any, are deteriorated, collapsed or in need of corrections, according to the written proposal. The signs will encourage respect for town land, and ensure the town's right to enforce restrictions, according to committee member Warren Lyman. And people will learn "where their money went," added CPC member Steve Perlman.
Hult encouraged the group to apply for a somewhat larger amount, to be spent over a longer period of time on the conservation lands whose signage needs have not yet been studied.
© 2007 The