Farmington board approves CDBG application for housing project

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FARMINGTON – On Tuesday evening, the selectboard held a public hearing to discuss Avesta Housing’s request for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for their Edgewater project. This housing development will be a two story, 25 unit building to provide affordable senior housing in the Farmington area. The development will join Willow Springs Apartments, built in 2014, on Willow Springs Drive.

Lauren Turner, Development Officer for Avesta Housing and Project Manager, explained to the board that one of the main funding sources are CDBG funds. They are hoping to move onto the next round of approval for the funds in time to begin construction this spring.

A member of the public asked if Edgewater will feature the green energy that Willow Springs Apartments has. Turner explained that the project will be built to be solar-ready. “Further down the line we hope to get funding for solar,” Turner said. “That’s definitely a goal.”

Before voting, Stephan Bunker clarified with Turner that the town will not bear any financial responsibility for the project. The board approved the use of CDBG funds for this project.

“I appreciate you bringing this project into our community,” Chairman Matthew Smith said to Turner. “We greatly need it.”

Philip Hutchins, head of the Public Works Department, requested that the board accept a $25,000 donation from Domino’s. The donation is part of the chain’s Plowing for Pizza campaign to help municipalities with winter operations including snow removal and plowing efforts.

“We would be considered the eighth town nationwide to participate,” Hutchins explained. In return, all the town needs to provide is a brief description of what the funds will be used for and a few pictures of the items. Hutchins believes that images of Farmington would be featured on the Domino’s webpage.

Other towns that have received the funds chose to put the money towards salt and plowing equipment. “I’d like to see these funds go towards a new sidewalk machine,” Hutchins said. The board unanimously accepted the donation.

The board officially accepted Selectman Stephan Bunker’s resignation. Nomination papers for the available selectboard seat will be available on Jan. 24 and must be turned in by Feb. 23.

To conclude the meeting, the board heard budget presentations from the various town department heads. Selectman Bunker and Town Manager Erica LaCroix both highlighted the fact that the numbers they reviewed at the meeting were part of a preliminary draft budget. The selectboard and budget committee will continue discussions before the budget proposal is finalized.

“This is probably going to be one of the easier budget years, because we’re starting out on fairly good ground, which we greatly appreciate,” Chairman Smith commented.

The board made plans to meet prior to the next regularly scheduled select meeting to further discuss the budget.

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