Three Island town projects receive state funding

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The Chappy Ferry is one of the on-Island projects that received state funding. — Rich Saltzberg

Three Martha’s Vineyard towns received funding from the Rural and Small Town Development Fund, according to a press release. A total of $5 million was awarded in this batch of grants to support 25 projects across Massachusetts.

Aquinnah was awarded $395,000 to “design, engineer, and build two rental duplexes, consisting of two one-bedroom units and two-bedroom units serving households earning 80% and 100% or less of the area median income.” The units will be developed by Island Housing Trust, which will “lease a one-acre town-owned property to construct, own, and manage the permanently affordable rentals.” 

Oak Bluffs was awarded $395,500 to build an “enhanced denitrification wastewater system to support 60 multifamily rental units.” This project is planned to be completed in two phases. The housing will be affordable to “residents with incomes between 30%-110% of area median income.” 

Edgartown was awarded $160,000 for phase one of the Chappaquiddick Ferry project “as identified in the 2021 Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan.” The first phase will include “planning, community engagement, and engineering site assessment for the Chappy Ferry landings, parking lots, roads, and surrounding areas located on both sides of Chappaquiddick Island and downtown Edgartown.” 

The fund provides grants for capital and community projects in rural and small towns with either a population of fewer than 7,000 people or with a population density of fewer than 500 persons per square mile, the release stated. This calculation is measured using data from the 2020 U.S. Census. Grants are awarded “based on the project’s nexus with housing, transportation, infrastructure, economic development, community development, and priorities identified by the Commonwealth’s Rural Policy Advisory Commission.” The fund has supported 41 projects in 35 towns with nearly $8 million since it was established last year. 

According to the release, the grants are a part of Community One Stop for Growth, “a single application portal that provides a streamlined, collaborative review process of 12 state grant programs that fund economic development projects.”