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CPC faces flurry of requests for public project financing

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GROTON — With the final submission of applications due soon, members of the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) have begun to sift through the stack of preliminary submittals that ranged from requests for funding for conservation of open land to public recreation.

Among the preliminary funding requests recognized at the committee’s July 3 meeting were:

* $16,000 by the Florence Roche Elementary School for restoration of its playground.

* $20,000 by the town’s Building Committee for basic repairs of the 120-year-old Squannacook Hall. The Hall was closed last year by the Board of Selectmen following the departure of the now-defunct Recreation Committee. But despite its current state of disuse, there remained a strong desire to see the historic structure maintained and put to some use in the future.

* $75,000 by the Water Department for the purchase of a conservation restriction to protect land adjacent to the Unkety Brook well site located off Chicopee Row.

* $35,000 by the Parks Commission for use in expanding the town’s Cow Pond Brook playing fields, which are needed to meet increasing demand by soccer groups as well as a new youth football program.

* $40,000 by the Groton Country Club for the renovation of tennis courts. A similar request for $25,000 failed to gain support from officials last year due to the problem of the unused courts. More information was requested and the new submission is expected to present a more complete plan of restoration.

* $1,900 by the Williams Barn Committee to cover the cost of a survey dealing with a land donation by the Groton Cemetery Commission. The survey is needed in order to set firm boundaries between that of the Williams Barn and the cemetery property.

* $200,000 by the Conservation Commission to replenish its account needed to take advantage of any property coming up for sale that commissioners feel would make a good addition to the town’s stock of protected land. When making a request for the same amount of money in 2005, then ConsCom chairman Peter Morrison explained that the cash was needed to make sure the town was not caught short if an unexpected offering came up while other deals were in progress.

One final request for funding is for $85,000 made by the town clerk for use in the restoration and preservation of 58 volumes of historic records. The volumes represent the balance of the work begun with CPC funding last year when town clerk Onorina Maloney was given $16,000 for the restoration of the first group of 14 volumes.

Maloney appeared before the committee last week to present them with one of the completed volumes for their inspection.

“I’m so thrilled about this project,” confessed Maloney, who thanked committee members for their support. “The books are beautifully restored. They’re just gorgeous. The vendor (who did the restoration work) did what they were supposed to do. It’s what the books needed.”

Prior to the restoration work, the volumes were composed of bound documents, some hundreds of years old, that were crumbling and growing brittle with age. Restored and protected, they can once again be made available for use by the public.

Applications have been made available since June 1.

CPC members expect to hold a round of regular meetings and public hearings aimed at helping applicants fine-tune preliminary applications, prior to making their final submissions on Aug. 1.

At that time, the committee will make its formal recommendation on each application, with approved applications to be included on the warrant for autumn’s special town meeting. There, voters will have the last word on whether to approve the CPC spending or not.

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