How should block grant money be used in Amherst? Public to weigh in Thursday

Staff Writer
Published: 9/15/2020 12:31:19 PM

AMHERST — A mandated public process for determining how Community Development Block Grant money should be used in Amherst to benefit low- and moderate-income residents next year begins with a virtual hearing Thursday.

People are invited to participate in the hearing by phone or through Zoom, with a hyperlink and other information to be posted on the town’s online calendar.

This year, Amherst received $825,000 as a mini-entitlement community designated by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The funds are designed to support housing, community development projects and social service activities benefiting low- and moderate-income citizens.

The projects approved for funding include a multi-use path to be built along Mill Lane that will to get pedestrians and bicyclists to Groff Park, and rehabilitation of housing at Watson Farms, a property overseen by the Amherst Housing Authority.

Community priorities for social services, non-social services and the neighborhoods targeted in the 2021 application process will be discussed, along with whether to reallocate funds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be an update from Senior Planner Nathaniel Malloy on the CDBG funding that came through the federal CARES Act.

The hearing will review ongoing activities from the 2018 and 2019 grants that include an Americans with Disabilities Act self-evaluation and transition plan, construction of a multi-use path on East Hadley Road and predevelopment funding for Valley Community Development’s single-room occupancy project on Northampton Road.

In addition, the CDBG money has gone toward the food pantry at the Amherst Survival Center, a housing stabilization program by Family Outreach of Amherst, adult education by The Literacy Project, English classes by the Center for New Americans and youth mentoring by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.

The public hearing will be conducted virtually at

Comments prior to the meeting can be sent to Malloy at

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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