Friday, January 15, 2010
CPC begins new grant cycle, hears Bog House repair request
At a lightly attended meeting on January 7, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) began the 2010 Community Preservation Act (CPA) project application cycle by reviewing available funds and then hearing from representatives of the Carlisle Land Stewardship Committee which plans to apply for funds to repair the Carlisle Cranberry Bog House.
A portion (10%) of each year’s CPA funds are restricted for use in historic preservation, affordable housing or open space and public recreation. The remainder, undesignated, may be used for any combination of those uses. The committee reviews applications and makes spending recommendations to Annual Town Meeting.
Town Treasurer Larry Barton outlined the resources currently available to the CPC. As of the end of 2009, the balance in the Community Housing Fund was $300,913 and there was $149,262 in the Undesignated Fund. The Open Space Fund and the Historic Fund had $0 balances. Barton stated that approximately $178,923 would be collected in 2010 through the CPA. This does not include any matching funds from the state.
Barton explained that there are a number of CPA authorized projects from previous years that maintain unexpended balances. Beginning in 2007, the CPC adjusted the wording of each Warrant Article such that it included an expiration date by which, if the requested funds had not been spent, the remaining money would be returned. However, projects that were funded prior to 2007 did not include such wording. As of the end of 2009, approximately $80,000 remained unexpended for these projects. Barton suggested that the CPC could go back to stakeholders who have unexpended balances. If the money is not needed, CPC could recover these funds. This would be done with a motion at Town Meeting to free up the funds.
Bog House repairs
Warren Lyman and Debby Geltner, representing the Carlisle Land Stewardship Committee (LSC), a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom), presented information about the status of the Cranberry Bog House. Last year the Conservation Commission had requested CPA funds for repair of the Bog House but, due to the large number of requests in 2009, the Bog House repairs were not funded. This year, Lyman returned to describe the current state of the building, to provide additional research that the LSC has done since last year and to discuss the situation with the CPC.
Last year the LSC compiled a list of needed repairs to the Bog House. Estimates for those repairs, provided by two local contractors, ranged from $102,000 to $122,000. Since that time, the LSC has arranged for further inspections of the Bog House. A structural engineer discovered previously unknown structural defects including support beams that are no longer adequate to support the building. Inspections done by two pest control companies found an active infestation of powder post beetles. These results, combined with advice of a barn restoration specialist resulted in a new cost estimate significantly larger than the previous estimate. Lyman stated that approximately $165,000 will be needed to repair to the Bog House.
When asked if $165,000 would be enough to preserve the building, Lyman responded, “Yes, except utilities. [Mark] Duffy is responsible for utilities: well, electric, septic tank, pellet stove. We don’t intend to make changes that will make it look like a museum of modern art. We are going to make repairs. The support beams are tree trunks. We will replace them with pressure treated lumber.” He added, “This is not a band-aid solution.”
Warren stated that the LSC will submit a request to CPC for the full amount of work ($165,000) before the CPC deadline. However, the ConsCom will submit a Warrant Article for remaining funds if CPC cannot fully fund the request.
The committee will do research before the next meeting to determine which category, historic preservation or open space, would best fit the proposed work. The deadline for submission of applications is January 29 and the CPC will vote on applications at its March 2 meeting. The next CPC meeting will take place on February 11 when the committee will review status reports on existing projects, and will review 2010 applications. ∆
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