At the recent selectmen’s meeting, Genevieve Fraser, a new member of the town hall restoration committee and director of last summer’s “Lincoln: The Musical,” asked permission to file a notice of intent with the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
She explained that there is a grant available to make capital improvements to town-owned buildings as long as they are more than 125 years old and at least half the building is available for use for cultural activities. The town hall meets these requirements (there used to be a size requirement which excluded it, but Senator Stephen Brewer was able to pass legislation last summer removing the size restriction), and the town can provide matching funds from almost $5,000 which had been donated over the years specifically for improvements to the town hall.
Fraser sought guidance from the board, asking if they agreed that a sound system was the most important thing to spend the funds on. They agreed wholeheartedly, citing difficulty hearing at town meeting.
The board signed a Chapter 90 project request for $150,000 submitted by Highway Supervisor David Frye. The funds would be used to remove and replace about 40,000 square feet of sidewalk on East River Street, upgrading any asphalt sidewalks to concrete sidewalks with granite curbs. This project is meant to extend the other sidewalk improvements being made with community development block grant money.
Following the final public hearing on the town’s fiscal year 2013 community development block grant application, the board authorized Chairman Richard Sheridan to sign the official application cover sheet. The money will be divided up between the North Quabbin Citizen Advocacy ($20,000), the United Arc ($11,175), and repair of the East River Street and Cheney Street sidewalks ($628,860).
Tom Doody and Nate Johnson of the NQCA explained that the grant will allow them to match eight advocates with people who have a mental, developmental or age-related difficulty. Johnson noted that there are already Orange residents on a waiting list for NQCA services.
Leslie King of the United Arc told the board that the grant will allow them to provide a positive parenting program for about 15 parents with cognitive difficulties in the community. She noted that the program can include family events, home visits by parent educators, help seeking other resources, some transportation and childcare, and a parenting support group.