Tag Archives: American Rescue Plan Act

ARPA Request: Funds For Low-Density Affordable Housing

Westport will receive $8.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Over $750,000 had already been approved for public health, tree trimming, network protection, bus shelters and COVID-related expenses.

This week the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) approved $1.3 million for the Burying Hill Beach jetty, and $200,000 for 12 local arts non-profits. In the pipeline: downtown enhancements.

Next Wednesday (February 9, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall auditorium), the Board of Finance will consider a request for $150,000. The funds would support pre-development activities for low-density affordable housing at Post Road East, by West Parish Road. The request includies architectural fees, engineering site work, surveys, and traffic and environmental studies.

The parcel is on state Department of Transportation land, adjacent to Walgreens. Vehicles and equipment are stored there now.

Part of the Post Road East site, between Walgreens and West Parish Road.

The request comes from Westport’s Department of Human Services.  It describes “approximately 20 or more multi-family housing units in a desirable location, without high-density 8-30g project proposals from the private sector, which would typically include and additional 80+ market-rate units.”

DHS says the ARPA funds would help Westport gain moratorium points “to curtail 8-30g applications, which often result in dense housing and zoning battles.”

The proposal adds that “access to quality, affordable housing creates jobs, enhances economic development opportunities, and helps address the long history of segregated communities in (Connecticut) by creating viable options for new families to live in Westport.”

Under state law, only 3.6% of the town’s housin stock currently qualifies as “affordable.”

The DHS proposal links the funding request with ARPA’s aim — to support state, local and tribal governments’ responses to, and recovery from, the pandemic — by noting that the higher-income households have weathered COVID “without significant income losses, low-interest rates, and housing supply constraints”; in fact, it says, home values have soared.

Meanwhile, “many low-income renters and homeowners struggle with lost employment and income and are behind on their housing payments.”

The Human Services report concludes, “it is challenging to fund this development through traditional HUD and CAFA sources because it is so small in scale. Without assistance from the Town — via ARPA or other funds — a project of this scale isn’t feasible.

“Today, we have an opportunity to create the type of housing needed in Westport — quality, affordable housing for families that is centrally located with access to transportation resources and meets our community’s needs.”

(The February 9 Board of Finance meeting will be livestreamed, for those unable to be at Town Hall. Go to http://www.westportct.gov; select the “How Do I?”” heading, then “Watch Town Meetings.” It will also be shown on Optimum Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020. Comments to be read during the public comment period may be emailed to BOFcomments@westportct.gov, with full name and address. Click here for the full agenda.)

Finance Board To Hear ARPA $$$ Requests

Next year, Westport will receive $8.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act  funding. The money is part of a $2.2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) economic stimulus package.

Earlier this month, “06880” reported one possible use. The Greens Farms Association hopes the town can repair the crumbling jetty at Burying Hill Beach.

On January 5 (7:30 p.m., Zoom), the Board of Finance will review a $1.3 million request from the Department of Public Works for that project.

They’ll also discuss an application for $200,643 in funds from the Westport Arts Advisory Council. It includes 12 organizations that could use some of that money:

Artists Collective of Westport: $20,000 to beautify new bus shelters with changing local artist work; full-color, large-scaled prints of adjudicated works to rotate every 2 months.

Beechwood Arts: $20,000 for 4 all-arts collaborative events, including community scavenger hunts, art opening, story share and facilitated dinner discussion.

JIB Productions: $20,000 for 2 projects: 1) Play Time (professionally moderated structred play reading/discussion group, 6 sessions at the Senior Center); 2) Partnership with Westport Library, Bridgeport schools and Westport schools to screen (with director talk-back) “Change the Name,” a documentary abouyt a group of middle school students who successfully changed the name of a Chicago park from slaveholder to abolitionist.

Levitt Pavilion: $20,000 to underwrite 4 free presentations for 2022 summer season, including folk, jazz, rock and big band concerts.

MoCA: $20,000 for weekly art enrichment workshops for underserved community groups such as STAR, Silver Hill Hospital, Veterans groups/Homes for the Brave, Bridgeport Boys & Girls Club, etc.

Suzuki School of Music: $20,000 for a community concert series in-person and streamed from the Westport Library; Connecticut Guitar Festival, Concerto and Aria Concert, Piano Concerto Concert and Family Pillow Concerts.

Westport Country Playhouse: $20,000 for a pilot program mobile tour of elementary school plays, touring Westport and Fairfield County; partnering with TEAM Westport, ConnectUs, the Boys & Girls Club of Connecticut/Southport, Westport Library and Norwalk Housing Authority.

Westport Museum of History & Culture: $20,000 for a graphic novel to explore the American Revolution from 6 perspectives: women, Indigenous people, enslaved and free Americans, loyalists, patriots, and local authors/illustrators.

WestPAC: $20,000 for art storage: professional fees ($125 an hour/160 hours) to perform a feasibility study to to adapt town-owned facilities for the Collection’s storage needs.

Community Band: $12,500 to commission a piece to commemorate the COVIDI experience, to be played at the Levitt Pavilion.

Music for Youth $6,518 for the Arkai gender-bending string duo 2-day residency and pormances a Westport middle schools and Staples High; master classes for orchestra students, performances for full schools.

Westport School of Music: $3,625 for a faculty chamber concert for The Residence at Westport assisted-living facility.

The Board of Finance meeting on January 5 will be streamed on www.WestportCT.gov, and shown on Optimum Channel 79 and Frontier Channel 6020. Emails can be sent to BOF@westportct.gov. Comments to be read during public comment period may be emailed to BOFcomments@westportct.gov.