GROTON -- On Monday, members of the Community Preservation Committee considered three applications for public funds: a new generator for the Groton Housing Authority, a new playing field for the Parks Commission, and an infusion of cash for the Conservation Commission's Conservation Fund.
Members began with a new application from the Housing Authority, which applied for $16,270 to help purchase a new generator for the septic system at its Petapawag Place housing units.
According to the application, the new generator is needed to replace an old one used as a backup for the primary unit.
The old generator has been broken for several years but the Authority has lacked funds to pay for a new one.
After clearing its application with the town's legal counsel, who determined that the project constituted a capital expense and not a maintenance expense, the Authority decided to apply for the money.
Next was a request by the Conservation Commission for $150,000 for its conservation fund.
The request, as described by commission member Bruce Easom, was "a routine application" and nothing new for the commission, which approaches the CPC every year with such a request.
The only thing different this year, said Easom, was the amount being applied for. In the past, $200,000 has been the usual number but taking the economy into consideration, the commission decided to go for only $150,000.
Easom told the committee that after the recent purchase of the Walker property, money in the fund totaled no more than $10,000 to $20,000, when it was advised that the commission have between $750,000 and $1 million on hand.
The Walker property, consisting of 49 acres, is along Chicopee Row and is being purchased by the Conservation Commission along with another 59 acres owned by Marjorie Cox. Cost for the two parcels comes to $716,000, of which 60 percent is to be covered by state grant.
Next, the Parks Commission asked for $350,000 to be used toward the creation of playing fields on 35 acres of town-owned land next to the transfer station.
According to Parks Commissioner John Strauss, total cost of the project is estimated to be $900,000, with $500,000 expected to be covered through a state grant.
Another $50,000 would be raised by private sports groups with the balance of $350,000 raised from the CPC.
The only hitch, Strauss told the committee, was that the commission did not know if it could secure the state grant money before the CPC funds were awarded. Consequently, he suggested that the CPC money, if awarded, be held in reserve pending the outcome of the grant application.
Strauss said it would be necessary for the CPC to hold onto the funds because Parks was not structured in a way to do so itself.
Further, should the state grant not be awarded, Strauss said a second attempt to find the balance of the cost would be made through a direct appeal to Town Meeting. Should that effort also fail, then the CPC money would return to the committee's unallocated reserve.
Although committee members had some questions about the project, including those on parking, access, and specific wording in the award of funds stating that they would be returned to the CPC account should the $500,000 fail to materialize, the application also received a friendly reception.
Also Monday, CPC members heard from Habitat Advisory Group representative Al Collins about progress at the historic Boutwell House, headquarters of Groton's Historical Society.
Over the past months, said Collins, work has been completed on insulation of the 160-year-old Main Street building as well as its heating system.
At earlier points, repair of the building's exterior foundation as well as its rear chimney were completed as was replacement of gutters and demolition of certain interior portions of the house.
At an earlier briefing, Collins reported the discovery of architectural plans showing design details of the house circa 1894 that have aided in its renovation so that the finished work will be as close to its original appearance as possible.
Originally, CPC awarded the project $176,525, supplemented by a Cultural Council Facilities grant of $79,000.
Collins told committee members that interior plastering would begin within the week as well as carpentry, with all work to be completed within three or four months.
The CPC was established in 2004 when Town Meeting adopted the Community Preservation Act and decided to fund it with a three percent surcharge on local property taxes, the highest percentage rate allowed under the Act.
Funds raised through the CPA are earmarked solely for the creation of community housing, historic preservation, the purchase of open space, and recreational purposes. It is the responsibility of the CPC to review submissions and prepare those that meet CPA standards for presentation to voters at Town Meeting for final approval.
Once projects are approved for funding, the CPC monitors them to make sure the money awarded is spent correctly and the jobs move along at a regular pace.