Conservation Thinks About Projects for Federal Funds

By Chris Paul

HAMPSTEAD – Hampstead Administrative Assistant and ADA Coordinator Sally Theriault attended the latest Hampstead Conservation Commission meeting and shared with members the fact that there are a number of past and future projects that may qualify to be paid for through the American Recovery Plan funds.
Theriault explained that the town will be receiving $900,000, which would allow the town to spend on equipment or projects provided they fall under the eligibility guidelines.
She asked members to think about things that the Conservation Commission has done or is going to do that might qualify for the money.
One project she thought might qualify was the Handley Road Parking area that was recently constructed and there was a chance the commission could get reimbursed for what was spent.
She asked what the commission thought they had spent on the project, and although the chairman, Tim Lovell, wasn’t sure of the exact figures, said it was less than $10,000.
Theriault added that another thing that the money could go toward would be the maintenance of the town’s conservation and recreation areas that experienced higher usage due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
She also added that the money coming from the Recovery Plan funds would need to be spent over the next four years.
Lovell asked if she thought the funds could go toward funding education related items, but Theriault did think they would be.
When asked if some of that money would be going toward school projects, Theriault explained that the school would be getting their own $900,000.
Members also wondered if a piece of equipment could be purchased through the plan’s funds, and Theriault responded that it would need to fall under one of the five categories laid out in the plan.
According to the National Association of Counties website, those categories are:
• Support public health response: Fund COVID-19 mitigation efforts, medical expenses, behavioral healthcare and certain public health and safety staff.
• Address negative economic impacts: Respond to economic harms to workers, families, small businesses, and nonprofits, or impacted industries and re-hiring of public sector workers.
• Replace public sector revenue loss: Use funds to provide government services to the extend of the reduction in revenue experienced due to the pandemic.
• Premium pay for essential workers: Offer additional support to those who have and will bear the greatest health risks because of their service in critical infrastructure. Funds can be used retroactively back to January 27, 2020.
• Water, sewer and broadband infrastructure: Make necessary investments to improve access to clean drinking water, invest in wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and provide unserved or underserved locations with new or expanded broadband access.
Theriault added there would be $450,000 coming to the town this year and another $450,000 next year.
All of the boards and committees in town will be asked for submission that they feel needs to be added for funding.
On the subject of the Hadley Road parking area, Lovell suggested that the hump at the entrance of the lot needs to be leveled. He said that he has received a number of complaints regarding the issue of entering the lot.