Wareham officials prepare to submit $825,000 federal grant application
Sidewalk upgrades in Onset and affordable housing for seniors are some areas residents want town officials to focus on when it comes to spending thousands of dollars from an annual federal grant.
The funds will be spent in the next fiscal year as part of the Community Development Block Grant, which awards money to communities for affordable housing projects, infrastructure development and programs for low-income residents. The funds are awarded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
On Wednesday, Peter Sanborn, manager of Wareham’s Community and Economic Development Authority, hosted a public hearing that sought input for the next grant application. The maximum amount the town can receive is $825,000.
Sanborn said past projects have included upgrades to Main Street, including new sidewalks and lighting, as well as money for programs such as Damien’s Food Pantry and the Boys & Girls Club.
The hearing’s purpose was to identify needs to be listed in the town’s community development strategy plan, a requirement of the grant application, which is due March 2. State officials will make sure each project on the town’s request for funding is reflected specifically or generally in the community development strategy.
Currently, the document identifies six major areas – community and economic development, housing, public services, transportation, infrastructure and public facilities.
Sidewalks in Onset were brought up, with residents saying the area from the Dummy Bridge to the Stone Bridge either needs sidewalks installed or have existing sidewalks repaired.
John Salerno, co-owner of Marc Anthony’s Pizzeria, noted that the town should consider clearing off one sand-covered sidewalk already in place at Onset Beach.
“That’s a possibility,” said Sanborn.
Sanborn noted that no specific projects have been identified to receive grant funds yet. He said programs and projects to receive funding will be identified between now and Feb. 13. That’s when the Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the grant application.
The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in the Multi-Service Center, located at 48 Marion Road.