DERRY — The Derry Town Council had a long agenda at its most recent meeting July 16, discussing downtown development, fire department grant funding and other town business.
— The council approved a measure allowing the fire department to apply for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for the purpose of replacing fire department self-contained breathing apparatus, air filling station and associated equipment.
In his report to council, Derry Fire Chief Michael Gagnon said the grant money comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The amount of the grant request is approximately $700,000 with a cost share coming from the town's capital improvement fund.
If awarded, the grant would support replacement of 46 self-contained breathing apparatus, 26 additional regulators, 92 air cylinders, 80 face pieces, two rapid intervention team air packs and the air cylinder replacing station.
Gagnon noted that if equipment is aging or showing wear, it can be a negative impact on the safety and reliability of the equipment for firefighters. Current self-contained breathing apparatus equipment is more than 12 years old.
— The council hosted a public hearing on a proposed project for improvements to housing complexes owned and operated by the Derry Housing and Redevelopment Authority and located at 17 and 1 and 3 Peabody Road Annex. All units within these projects are rented to low income/disabled residents in town.
Community Development Block Grant funds are available to municipalities through the N.H. Community Development Finance Authority with up $500,000 available every year for economic development, up to $500,000 for public facility and housing projects, and up to $350,000 for emergency activities. Up to $12,000 is also available to feasibility study grants and all projects must benefit low to moderate income residents.
Derry's grant application would be used for improvements tot he Peabody Road complexes including new heating systems, new roofs, new siding, and repaving of tenant parking lots and walkways.
The projects could require some temporary relocation for residents, who would be moved to other empty units on site, to modular units or to other properties owned by the housing authority.
— Council moved to extend the town's agreement with Community Health Services, or CHS, for another year to provide general assistance and case management to the town.
The town contracted with CHS, one of the town's social services partners, originally signing a 13-month agreement. CHS also provides general assistance help to Londonderry and Hampstead.