Here are the latest Town News Briefs:
ARPA Plan Passes; Projects and Funding to Come
Last week at Town Meeting, the Town of Canton approved a plan for spending $2,535,863 from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). As a result of this decision, the town will:
• Provide $100,000 in supplemental funding for social/emotional services and learning support.
• Purchase air packs for the Fire and EMS departments.
• Strengthen physical security at Canton Town Hall for offices responsible for town funds.
• Replace broken decking on the Farmington River Bike Trail.
• Irrigate playing fields at Canton Intermediate School.
• Replace the failing pool shell at Mills Pond and install a splash pad in place of the current wading pool.
• Replace broken playground equipment.
• Add a boat ramp near the Public Works Garage.
• Help fund a new little league field at the high school.
• Provide air conditioning to the High School and Town Hall Auditoriums so they can be used year round.
• Improve broadband communications at Cherry Brook Primary School and in town meeting rooms.
• Replace furnishings in the Library and Senior Center.
• Provides funds to reduce the impact of pandemic restrictions on local businesses and non-profit tourist attractions. An application and review process is under consideration by the Board of Selectmen to determine which organizations will receive these funds.
A contingency amount of $498,804 remains for additional projects, such as traffic calming features on our roads and irrigation for playing fields. It can also be used to fill ARPA funding gaps should cost estimates prove inadequate. The Town continues to apply for grants to cover several of these projects. Should any grants be awarded, they will free the associated ARPA allocations for other projects. Total ARPA funding to the Town of Canton is $3,034,667.
Axe Factory Sale
Ranger Properties, signatory to an agreement to purchase the Collins Axe Factory, continues to prepare its formal application to the Inland Wetlands & Watercourses Commission and the Planning & Zoning Commission. Town officials are optimistic that sale will happen this year.
In the meanwhile, the State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection continues its work on a full remediation assessment and plan for the site. This is a necessary piece of the final development plan.
If you’re looking to get involved in Town progress, the Temporary Committee on Sustainable Waste Management could be just the place for you.
Several months ago, the Board of Selectmen created this committee to study and recommend changes to policies and procedures for the disposal of municipal waste. This timely effort could have a major impact on the Town’s carbon footprint, making Canton a part of the solution to the ecologic and climate issues facing us all.
The Committee currently has three members and needs two more to begin meeting. If you’re looking to make a difference, this is a great place to start! Click HERE to apply.
Pandemic Winding Down?
There is good news on the COVID front: The Farmington Valley Health District reports that case counts are coming down, and Emergency Use Authorization is nearing approval for a vaccine aimed at children under the age of five.
This final step is what parents everywhere have wanted. Our youngest need protection from COVID, too! Without it, there can be no real return to normal without substantial risk.
As winter enters its final six weeks, thanks to Punxsatawny Phil or the Jet Stream, town officials are seeing light at the end of this two year road. We are so close! A little more patience should bring us over the finish line.