Rumford board updated on federal grant, housing projects it’s helping

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RUMFORD — Two of the town’s five selectmen attended Thursday night’s federally-required public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant, along with Town Manager Carlo Puiia and members of the Economic Development Committee.

Committee members Phil Blampied and Jim Rinaldo, and Sandy Albert all updated Puiia and Selectmen Brad Adley and Jeff Sterling on their progress in working with landlords to bring their buildings up to code by using the $200,000 CDBG Rumford got last June.

Albert is the associate director of housing and energy for grant administrator Community Concepts in Paris.

Blampied said the grant — coupled with a $20,000 match from the town and $150,000 from landlords, who applied for help through the grant — will end on June 30.

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He said the first eight months of the available money has been used to get properties inspected while working with landlords who applied for help to improve their housing for low- to moderate-income tenants.

Construction finally started last month, but Blampied said Community Concepts has assured him that chances are high that most of the necessary work on the buildings will be completed.

Albert said 86 units or 22 eligible buildings have enrolled in the program to use the money. Eight are in Strathglass Park and the other units are multi-family buildings on Cumberland, Waldo, Hancock and Kennebec streets.

Inspections have been completed on all but one building, she said.

Blampied told selectmen they need to decide whether the town ought to apply for a second CDBG to continue the work.

He said they missed the opportunity to apply for 2010 money in November 2009, but could apply for the 2011 funding by this November.

“We have a pretty good chance of getting it again, but you need to put information on the June town meeting warrant,” Blampied said. “It’s prudent to think about it now.”

However, rather than agree to provide another $20,000 match, Blampied said the town could provide an in-kind match.

Puiia told Blampied that town law forbids selectmen from trying to appropriate money at town meeting for a coming fiscal year to be used as a match.

However, when Blampied asked about adding an article that authorized the board to pursue a second CDBG, Puiia said that is feasible.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

At Thursday night’s public hearing on Rumford’s $200,000 Commmunity Development Block Grant program, Economic Development Committee Chairman Phil Blampied explains that it would behoove selectmen to apply for another CDBG grant to finish housing work started with the first grant, which Rumford received in June 2009.

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