Public can comment on $600,000 worth of CPA requests, including library windows and Pulaski Park improvements
NORTHAMPTON — The Community Preservation Committee will listen to residents tonight on more than $600,000 in requests, including replacing windows at Forbes Library, upgrades to Pulaski Park, renovations to the City Hall’s entrance, and creation of a loan fund to help homeless people secure apartments.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Puchalski Municipal Building. The committee has already heard from applicants at a previous meeting and has dedicated tonight’s meeting to public comment, said Wayne Feiden, director of the Office of Planning and Development.
If there’s time, the committee will likely begin discussion of the proposals, though it won’t vote on recommendations until a later meeting, he said.
Here’s a look at the proposals:
■ ServiceNet Inc. is seeking $10,000 to establish a loan fund to cover portions of the first and last months’ rent and security deposit for eligible homeless individuals and families. The program aims to help four to eight homeless individuals and families in the next year. The families would go through a screening process to secure rental housing in the city.
Those who receive assistance would agree to repay the amounts they borrow, which would enable the program to continue to serve other homeless people after the first year.
Many homeless people seeking housing have the money to secure an apartment, but they can’t cover the $1,500 to $3,000 in upfront rent and deposits, ServiceNet said in its application. The proposal falls under the affordable housing section of the CPA. Recent changes in the state CPA law clear the way for such projects, Feiden said.
∎ The Trustees of Forbes Library are requesting $301,821 to replace 138 windows in the historic building on West Street. Many of the 130-year-old, single-pane windows don’t close securely, leak and have little insulation value.
Plans call for installation of energy-efficient windows that meet historic preservation standards. Left alone, damage could compromise restoration work already completed and harm valuable materials, according to the trustees.
The work would complete an project started in 2005 to secure the building’s envelope. Library trustees used a combination of city and CPA funds a few years ago to clean, repair and repoint the building’s exterior and repair its roof.
If approved, the project would begin this fall and take about nine months to complete.
■ The Board of Public Works is asking the commission for $194,500 to hire a landscape architect to design renovations to Pulaski Park downtown. The park was last renovated 36 years ago.
The BPW held a design competition in 2008 and selected Stephen Stimson Associates to improve the 1.1-acre public park situated between the Academy of Music and Memorial Hall.
Stimson’s preliminary drawings called for a “Great Lawn” in the center of the park, an outdoor performance structure, plazas next to entrances on Main and South streets, and a walkway through the back of the park.
A recent change in CPA funding requirements allows communities to hand out grants to renovate parks, rather than fund only projects for new parks.
If approved, design would take most of this year, with construction taking place in the summer and fall of 2014, pending future funding sources.
Rough estimates four years ago put park improvements at $1.5 million. The city intends to apply for a state Parkland Acquisition and Renovations grant, and will likely submit another CPA grant next year.
∎ The city’s Central Services Department is asking for $95,000 to restore the exterior trim, doors and facade of City Hall. Feiden said the project primarily involves the entrance to City Hall. The work would include fixing deteriorated trim, replacing missing stucco in the building’s facade, and painting.
City hall had new windows installed in the last year as part of a comprehensive municipal building energy performance contract. If approved, the project would go out to bid this spring and work would take place in late summer or early fall.
An application from the Conservation Commission for $300,000 for design of the Connecticut River Greenway Trail has been withdrawn, Feiden said.
The commission needs more time to develop a plan to deal with numerous wetlands along the route that would connect the Norwottuck Rail Trail to a proposed new riverfront park near the River Run Condominiums, Feiden said.