Wilton sets special town meeting in quest for grant

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WILTON — The Board of Selectpersons agreed Tuesday to hold a special town meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Town Office to consider declaring an area a slum and blighted.

The declaration is needed to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to pay for infrastructure improvements along Depot Street from Route 2 to Main Street and Main Street from Academy Hill School to the lake.

Because the town does not qualify for the grant based on low-to-moderate incomes, the designation would allow the town to be considered under CDBG requirements for the slum and blighted area. A letter of intent to apply for the grant needs to be sent by mid-January, Town Manager Rhonda Irish told the board.

The town would need to specify the area and meet the definition of a blighted area under state law. The definition, according to the CDBG program, means within the designated area, “at least 25 percent of the buildings are considered as deteriorating and public improvements are in a general state of deterioration.”

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The slum and blighted area also includes dilapidated, dangerous buildings and deficient public improvements which can create serious concern and potential injury to the public’s health, safety and welfare, according to the program material.

The grant, if received, would be used for infrastructure improvements, Irish said. The funding is also intended to help eliminate the causes of slum and blight.

As a gateway in to the town, the section of Route 156 known as Depot Street is the site of the partially demolished Forster Manufacturing building.

Darryl Stirling of Richmond, who recently was hired as the part-time community development infrastructure director, started researching possible funding sources for town revitalization and infrastructure improvements, Irish said.

The cap to apply for the CDBG grant based on low-to-moderate incomes is 51 percent. Wilton comes in at 49 percent, she said.

Whether the area considered is too large or contains the necessary 25 percent of buildings would be verified by the program, she said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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