Friday, February 26, 2010
Which CPA projects will get the nod?
At its February 11 meeting, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) squeezed into the tiny Parlin room at Town Hall where they heard final presentations from applicants who have requested Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for the coming year. Chair Kelly Guarino reminded the committee that no funding decisions would be made at this meeting; instead it would be the final opportunity for applicants to make sure that all necessary information has been submitted and that the committee has no unanswered questions.
Four applications have been submitted to the CPC this year. The Conservation Commission is requesting $165,000 for repairs at the Cranberry Bog House. The Carlisle Trails Committee requests $15,000 over the next five years for trail improvements. The Board of Selectmen (BOS) would like $33,634 to fund the position of Community Housing Coordinator. The BOS has also requested $5,000 for design costs for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Bog House repairs
Warren Lyman and Debby Geltner, representing the Land Stewardship Committee (LSC), a subcommittee of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom), returned to present additional information about Cranberry Bog House repairs. At the January CPC meeting Lyman and Geltner described the current state of the building and listed the specific repairs that would be completed. The estimated cost for repair work is approximately $165,000. (See “CPC Begins New Grant Cycle”, January 15.) At that time, the CPC had asked about the cost of other alternatives, such as razing the building.
Lyman returned with additional information about the costs of preserving the building versus the cost of not preserving. He stated that based on the single estimate received by the LSC, it would cost about $32,000 to tear down the Bog House. A new building of the same footprint and structural layout would cost approximately $1.15 million. This assumes a similar three-story building with 2,880 square feet per floor, a three-bedroom apartment on the third floor, a two-bedroom apartment on the second floor and a new foundation to meet the 40-foot setback requirement. Another option, a smaller building with a reduced footprint but the same structural layout, would cost approximately $634,000. Geltner noted that the bog house could be replaced with a different style building, such as a Quonset hut, however, the LSC had not gotten estimates for other style buildings. Lyman reiterated that the LSC would like to repair the existing historical building. CPC member and Board of selectmen chair Tim Hult felt that the $32,000 estimate to raze the building may be too low, reminding the committee that it cost about $22,000 to tear down the smaller Greenough House.
After a long discussion about the most appropriate account from which to fund the Bog House repairs, the CPC agreed to contact the state Community Preservation Coalition to determine whether repairs should be funded through the historical or the open space account.
Marc Lamere presented a request from the Trails Committee (TC). Lamere said that five years ago the TC had received funding from the CPC, which it has been using to fund trail improvements. Approximately $3,000 remains in the account. Lamere stated that the TC does not have any major projects planned for this spring other than one at Hanover Hill, which will be funded by the developer. Lamere expects that some of the remaining $3,000 will be used for signage. However, the TC is requesting $15,000 for future projects that are planned for the next five years (FY11 – FY15), including boardwalks, bridges, kiosks and signs. The majority of this money would be used for materials and for permitting, but Lamere expects that future projects may also require rented equipment and specialized tools.
Community housing coordinator
John Williams, speaking for the BOS, brought the CPC up to date on the work of the Structural Financial Planning Committee (SFPC), which has been tasked with examining and decreasing town expenses. Williams explained that SFPC has suggested eliminating the position of town administrative coordinator and creating the position of housing coordinator in its place. According to the 2006 Carlisle Annual Report, Town Meeting voted that year to create the position “housing coordinator / assistant to town administrator.” Over time the title was shortened to “administrative coordinator.” The job description has included work relating to both affordable housing and general procurement. Town Administrator Tim Gordon has agreed to take on procurement responsibilities, leaving the housing coordinator to support affordable housing and other housing-related functions.
Williams anticipated that the housing coordinator may also provide assistance to the Council on Aging in administration of fuel assistance, housing rehabilitation, weatherization and other housing-oriented programs. The BOS is requesting that the CPC fund the Housing Coordinator position for 21 hours per week for the coming year and that requests for continued funding in future years will be made if the position is deemed successful.
Bruce Freeman Rail Trail
Tim Hult spoke for the BOS requesting $5,000 for design work on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail which will eventually be a 25-mile bike path connecting Lowell to Framingham. According to Hult, the town had previously provided $20,000 for its portion of the overall trail design. Since only 847 feet of the trail actually runs through Carlisle, the town has entered into an agreement with Acton, which has taken on responsibility for the work. The state had originally agreed to fund a portion of the design work, but has recently decided otherwise. The $5,000 would be Carlisle’s portion of the remaining design costs which are also being shared by Westford, Acton and Concord.
Final decisions about which applications would be supported by the CPC will be made at the March meeting, which is currently scheduled for March 2. All requests supported by the CPC will be presented at Town Meeting for voter approval. ∆
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