ORLEANS – When Santa gets back to the North Pole this week, he’ll find another wish list waiting for him. Twenty-two applications for Community Preservation funds to support community housing, open space, historic preservation, and recreation efforts have been submitted to the town, twice last year’s number.
Formal review by the community preservation committee begins at its Jan. 2 meeting, and a public hearing will be held Feb. 13. Town meeting is the ultimate arbiter.
Applications range from a $600,000 request from the Nauset Interfaith Association to acquire and restore the 1850s David Young House near the downtown roundabout, and eventually create at least 10 affordable transitional dwelling units there, to $750 sought by the bike and pedestrian committee to print cards and brochures about bicycling in Orleans.
One ask has an unknown price tag: the open space committee’s request for funds to purchase 2.5 acres adjacent to the Marion Hadley and Samuel Peck Conservation Area in South Orleans. Following negotiations with the sellers, the committee plans to have a completed proposal, including a price, for the CPC by Jan. 16.
The committee has organized the requests in four groupings, although some organizations have applied under multiple purposes. The CPC is listing four proposals under community housing. The affordable housing committee is asking that $500,000 be transferred to the town’s affordable housing trust and that the committee be given $10,000 to produce educational materials. Habitat for Humanity seeks $50,000 for pre-development costs involved in building an affordable two-bedroom home on Quanset Road, the land for which was provided by the town through the housing trust (the agency has submitted a similar request to the trust itself and will receive one or the other). The Community Development Fund is asking for $7,500 each from Lower Cape towns toward another series of its Lower Cape Housing Institute; those dollars will be added to grants CDP has received.
There are three requests for open space funds. As part of its pursuit of the Peck property, the open space committee is looking for $15,000 to pay for pre-acquisition appraisals and to retain the services of the Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts. With the support of the open space committee and the conservation commission, the Orleans Conservation Trust is looking for $300,000 toward its purchase of nearly five acres on Portaminicut Road in South Orleans that would connect almost 100 acres of open space and eventually new access to Pah Wah Pond and Pleasant Bay. OCT has raised the remainder of the purchase price.
Seven proposals are grouped under historic preservation. The Nauset Interfaith Alliance would use $600,000 in CPC money to acquire the David Young House ($400,000) and start to rehab its exterior ($200,000). After raising other public and private funds, the Alliance would create 10 transitional dwelling units as well as a permaculture organic garden and grounds that would provide produce for residents. “When our project is complete,” the application notes, “it will be the first time that an historic structure in Orleans with a demolition permit in place has been saved.”
The Centers for Culture and History in Orleans (formerly the Orleans Historical Society) seeks $250,000 for the third phase of its project to rearrange and improve the use of its campus at River Road and Main Street, which includes the historic Meetinghouse and Hurd Chapel. Down the road in South Orleans, the Church of the Holy Spirit would like $125,000 to preserve its unique Galley West. The structure includes a relocated section of the historic Higgins Tavern (where Thoreau stayed on a visit to the Cape) as well as the galley of the shipwrecked vessel Orissa, which was found on Nauset Beach.
Over by Rock Harbor Road is the Northwest Schoolhouse, described as “the only remaining example of a historic school building in the town of Orleans.” Previously, CPC funded a design for an addition that would make the building handicapped-accessible but the resulting plan was not accepted. This time around, Northwest Schoolhouse, Inc., is asking for $99,230 for new architectural drawings ($84,000) and a new roof ($15,230). Back in the center of town, the French Cable Station Museum, Inc., seeks $72,739 to preserve its collection, including HVAC work and restoration of antique equipment to working order.
The Orleans Historical Commission has asked for $7,550 to pay for a revision and update of the town’s historic properties survey, and $20,026 for the services of a facilitator for public hearings and other tasks. Both expenditures would support establishment of the town’s first architectural conservation district, in East Orleans, pending town meeting approval.
Eight requests are listed under recreation, including the bike and pedestrian committee’s $750 to create marketing cards and bicycle brochures. The Orleans Farmer’s Market has two items: $500,000 to acquire 107 Main St. for a permanent home for the market that would serve as an agricultural and education center, and $5,000 to restore the galvanized tent frames used at Old Colony Way during the market’s outdoor season. These have been vandalized in recent months.
The market, which is located inside Nauset Regional Middle School during the colder months, is entering its 26th year. In a letter to the CPC describing the many accomplishments of the effort’s quarter-century, market president Gretel Norgeot wrote, “(We) are looking to move the market to the next level by having a permanent year-round location where we can have more educational classes, a demonstration garden and the ability to increase food awareness and local citizen’s knowledge of where, how and why eating locally is good for you, the community and the environment.” The market has been in touch with Cape Abilities, which owns 107 Main St., first about renting the building and then about a possible purchase. The same property’s potential for affordable housing is being assessed by the affordable housing trust (see related story in this issue).
Nauset Together We Can is seeking $50,000 to build a small half-pipe mini-ramp at Finch Skate Park off Eldredge Park Way, the third stage of improvements to the facility. The board of selectmen is the sponsor of a request for $8,775 for hydration stations where people could refill water bottles at Nauset and Skaket beaches, Eldredge Field, and Depot Square. The conservation commission would like $25,000 toward design of a replacement ramp, platform and landing at Crystal Lake and another $25,000 to design and standardize updated signage for 14 conservation sites. Pleasant Bay Community Boating is asking Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans for $25,000 each toward design and construction of an accessible dock, which would be “the only fully-accessible ADA compliant dock on the Pleasant Bay estuary bordering the four towns on the bay, and one of only two on Cape Cod,” according to the application.
Funds approved at May’s town meeting would be available July 1.