AYER — There is a waiting list for housing rehabilitation projects, according to Susan Provencher, of the Department of Planning and Economic Development. Owners interested in having work done on their properties may call the office for information, she said.
Provencher said her office has just completed an information mailing to half of the houses in the downtown “target area.” That’s about 800 houses, she said.
The housing area is one of three established target zones for revitalization.
Another — to identify the Main Street section of downtown for use in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications — is in the draft stage. It extends from the library on East Main Street to just past the first rail bridge over West Main Street, halfway up Washington Street hill and along Park Street to the IC Federal Credit Union.
A second, expanded version of the same plan is about to be approved by the Department of Housing and Community Development for use in defining other projects, said Provencher.
Business owners in the expanded area are encouraged to contact Provencher at (978) 772-8221 to continue the sign and building-façade improvement projects begun this past year.
CDBG grants are intended to eradicate “slums” and “blighted” areas. So how do signage and building-façade work qualify?
Percentages of buildings deemed to be in poor and fair condition play a part, said Provencher.
When Ayer first went for CDBG grants that were used for infrastructure renovation, she said every building was evaluated by state inspectors. Ayer reached the required percentage of having buildings considered to be in the poor and fair category.
“Now we have to show progress,” Provencher said. “We’ve done the infrastructure work, but we can do signs and façades.”