By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Residents living in a local manufactured housing community may see improvements in their water system, thanks to a community development block grant.
The Town Council voted unanimously at a meeting Jan. 22 to approve an application for a Community Development Block Grant for up to $500,000 that would bring much needed relief to a failing water system at the cooperatively-owned Centennial Estates housing park.
Centennial Estates is located on Bypass 28 and currently has only one well operating for the park’s 57 units.
The community was established before 1967 and has 157 residents living there. With only a single well, the age of the system is beyond its useful life, according to a report by town planning director George Sioras.
The system needs serious upgrades and improvements. There are leaking problems and frequent breaks.
“Complete replacement of the distribution system, service connections and providing a back-up well, atmospheric storage and booster pumping is required for the health of the residents,” Sioras’ said.
Many Centennial Estates residents attended the meeting and said they are happy to know that help is coming.
Sioras said the town has done similar grants like this in the past, including supporting projects done at Vintage Grace adult care facility.
Without this funding, the Centennial Estates water project would cost a lot of money for residents to incur.
“It’s quite an expensive endeavor without assistance,” said N.H. Community Loan Funds’ Donna Lane, who is working with the Centennial Estates residents as part of the grant application process.
She said Derry’s experience in the past with this type of grant was successful.
“You’ve done this before and you’ve done it well,” she said.
The Community Loan fund would also assist during the water project with engineer selection and budget planning and would keep residents’ interests protected.
John Regal has lived at Centennial Estates for 30 years and is currently the vice president of the housing park’s cooperative group.
The resident group purchased the park from a private owner several years ago.
He said the grant money would be a godsend.
“We’ve been able to fix a lot over the last two years, but the water system is at its breaking point,” he said. “This is one of those gifts that presented itself.”
The total estimated project cost is $857,000. In addition to the potential grant funding of up to $500,000, the park cooperative has secured $258,000 in other state funding. Residents will also submit approximately $100,000 from the park’s capital reserves.