Area towns secure $4.3M in CDBG grants for variety of projects

  • Amherst Town Hall

Thursday, July 20, 2017

BOSTON — Several area towns, including Amherst, are receiving competitive Community Development Block Grants totaling $4.3 million that will support housing and economic development projects for low- and moderate-income residents and eliminate blight.

At a presentation in Boston on Thursday, the state handed out 39 grants totaling $30.5 million to 58 cities and towns. The money will be used to rehabilitating 286 units of housing and providing services to support families, such as food pantries, financial and homebuyer education opportunities and literacy and English as a second language training.

Amherst is getting $825,000, of which $347,956 will go toward enhancing pedestrian safety on East Hadley Road, which has several apartment complexes, through an 8- to 10-foot wide multiuse path that will connect to West Street.

This will allow residents to more easily get to additional bus stops, the businesses in Pomeroy village center and Groff Park, where a spray park, new pavilion and playground are planned.

Another $137,591 will be used to enhance the Amherst Housing Authority’s property at Watson Farms, and $50,703 will go to the Valley Community Development Corp. to identify suitable sites for a single-room occupancy project, which will house people struggling with homelessness.

The remaining money will go toward social service programs, such as the Survival Center’s food pantry and youth mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County.

Chesterfield, Cummington, Goshen, Peru, Plainfield and Worthington are sharing $1.01 million to provide housing rehabilitation assistance for 18 units and for childcare assistance, elder services and a food pantry.

Deerfield, Leverett, Sunderland and Conway will receive a combined $1.29 million for housing rehabilitation for 24 units.

Huntington, joining with Russell, Middlefield and Chester, will get $1.18 million for housing rehabilitation assistance for eight units and infrastructure improvements to Main and Old Westfield roads.

Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement that flexible block grant funding allows Massachcusetts communities to respond to specific local needs.

“These investments will support long-term economic growth and positive changes in transportation infrastructure, housing markets, and community spaces,” Baker said.