DEERFIELD – The Select Board and Capital Improvements Planning Committee submitted their capital requests for fiscal year 2023 on April 7, which include upgrading of the sewage treatment plant, preservation and renovation of the South County Senior Center, the design and construction of the Leary Lot, and the rehabilitation of town commons.
Chief among all demands for the coming year is the $3 million loan to fund continued work at the South Deerfield sewage treatment plant. Board member Trevor McDaniel told the capital improvements planning committee that the money would be used to improve the “resilience” of the plan, while increasing efficiency by replacing vent filters and clarifiers, which remove solids from wastewater.
“The second phase of this process involves the lungs of the process,” McDaniel said. “We are one of the biggest energy consumers in the city. … What is happening now is that the quality of our sludge is not very good, which makes it more expensive to dispose of it.
Voters will have to approve the loan at the April 25 annual municipal meeting, then approve a debt exclusion in the May 2 election ballot.
McDaniel added that the proposed loan is “a matter of timing” because if the city waits too long, the current contractor’s contract will expire and the city will have to work with someone else. The weather also affects project finances, McDaniel said, because “things get more expensive” the longer the city waits.
“We really want to make sure we can run these things while this contractor is running. We have a great relationship,” McDaniel said, noting that the project is still expected to be tendered. “All the cards are in our favor for him to bid on our work.”
The city is seeking to use $475,000 of Community Preservation Act funding for the engineering and renovation of the South County Senior Center, which was closed due to the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic and the presence of mold. and asbestos. Over the next few years, the city plans to renovate the building, add an addition, and create a dual-use senior center and municipal office building.
The Select Board plans to use $500,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to fund the redesign of the Leary lot behind Berkshire Brewing Co., which would create additional parking and green space, while also opening access to the brewery and Hamshaw Lumber.
“Our discussion is about economic development with green infrastructure and space for parks,” McDaniel said.
The Leary Lot is one of the first steps in the town’s plans to revitalize the village of South Deerfield over the next half-decade or more as the town seeks to increase accessibility and walkability, which, according to council members, would lead to increased economic development. .
Together with Leary Lot, the council also applied for $350,000 in Community Preservation Act funds for the Town Common rehabilitation project.
The project, designed by Berkshire Design Group, includes reworked walkways, improved connections for pedestrian crossings and other general improvements. In January, Ad-Hoc Town Municipal Committee Chair Kate Lawless said safety and accessibility was the “no.” 1 priority.
“People love the common, and we want to make sure we honor that history and make sure it’s safe and usable for everyone,” she previously said. “That’s our main reasoning behind it. … We really want to make it a place where people can come and see the memorials and feel safe.
Additional requests planned for the coming year include $100,000 in ARPA funding for the police department’s heating, cooling and ventilation system, $100,000 in ARPA funding for a mini excavator for road service and $59,000 free money for a wood chipper for road service.
The city plans to post an updated capital projects spreadsheet in the coming days on deerfield.ma.us.