After months of review and face-to-face discussions with applicants, the Mattapoisett Community Preservation Act Committee was ready to make their decisions on the five grant requests received for FY24 Town Meeting. The fate of each request will be determined by an affirming majority vote on May 8 at the Annual Town Meeting.
Applications for grants may cover a wide variety of projects from land acquisitions to playgrounds, from cemetery needs to housing units and certainly not to be forgotten are all things related to the historic themes the town holds so dear, such as the iconic swordfish which received funding in FY23.
The groups, committees and organizations filing applications for FY24 were: Mattapoisett River Valley Water District (land acquisition in support of the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Resilience Project); Christian Church, corner of Church and Baptist Streets (repairs and renovations); Mattapoisett Historical Commission (Phase 1 – historic town-wide inventory); American Legion Post 280 (ADA-compliant building improvements) and Mattapoisett Housing Authority (structural repairs and improvements to Village Court.)
The MRV Water District is a four-town agency whose role in the communities of Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester is to explore and manage processes and procedures that help to protect, improve and expand freshwater resources within the district. To that end, Mattapoisett Water and Sewer Superintendent Henri Renauld, a member of the MRV Water District Commission and MRV Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee, submitted a grant request in the amount of $85,000 to help fund the purchase of some 151 acres in Mattapoisett along Long Plain and Acushnet Roads.
This request is part of the larger initiative, the resilience project in which Mattapoisett, in partnership with the Buzzards Bay Coalition, secured a state grant in the amount of $4,500,000 for the purchase, along with the MRV’s donation of $150,000, the BBC’s $965,000, the towns of Fairhaven, Marion and Acushnet all seeking $85,000 in CPA grants from their respective communities, and Rochester pitching in $70,000 for a total of $6,025,000.
The CPAC questioned Renauld on the process used for the consortium for the purchase price, asking would the conservation restriction planned for the acreage be into perpetuity, what would become of the red brick farmhouse used as rental property and would the Acushnet Road farm stand operated by Winterbottom Farm remain in place.
The CPAC learned that the project lead is the Buzzards Bay Coalition, that none of the acreage could be carved out for an affordable-housing project due to the conditions by upon the state (MVP) grant and that the property will be open to the public for passive recreation purposes, much of which will be managed by the BBC.
In the letter submitted with the grant application, Renauld wrote, “… the project directly abuts drinking-water supply wells for Mattapoisett, Marion and Fairhaven and will protect current gaps in the assemblage of water-supply protection land.”
While the CPAC remained concerned about the future of the red brick farmhouse and lands used for the growing of food crops that supply the seasonal farmstand, they unanimously agreed that the grant should be funded. As Chairman Chuck McCullough framed it, “It’s like we (Mattapoisett) are getting 151 acres for $85,000.”
Also moved for inclusion on the FY24 warrant were $38,000 for the Christian Church, $15,000 for the Mattapoisett Historical Commission, $42,000 for the American Legion Post 280 and $150,000 for the structural renovation to Village Court/Mattapoisett Housing Authority.
McCullough explained that at Town Meeting each grant will be defended by its author and that questions from the floor are anticipated for some grant requests.
Mattapoisett Community Preservation Act Committee
By Marilou Newell