TRURO — Housing is this year’s top priority for the community preservation committee (CPC), which plans to recommend that annual town meeting voters allocate $440,000 to efforts related to affordable homes.
Among the other recommended projects are trail development at the High Head conservation land, digitalization of fragile town records dating back to the 1700s, a study of memorials to honor the Payomet people, and money for acquisition of Wampanoag and other art, along with a handful of “mini grants.”
Of the $1,637,613.26 available in the preservation fund, the committee will recommend spending $780,000.
Pennrose LLC, a Pennsylvania company, has been selected to develop the former Cape Cod Five bank building in Orleans into 62 units of affordable and workforce housing. The company has asked nearby towns to pitch in $100,000. Rio Sacchetti, a developer for Pennrose, told the CPC that Orleans, Eastham, Provincetown, and Brewster have committed funds to the project.
Requests also went to Wellfleet, Chatham, and Harwich. The Wellfleet CPC deferred the request this year.
“Our CPC generally supports regional housing efforts as evidenced by the grant to Pennrose for the Nauset Green project in Eastham,” wrote Wellfleet CPC chair Gary Sorkin. “Given the schedule for the Orleans Pennrose project, we felt we could defer on this request for now and reconsider it during our next grant round.”
Sacchetti told the Truro CPC that 65 percent of the housing would be designated for “local preference” during the initial rental phase. And 10 percent would go to Outer and Lower Cape towns that contributed CPC funds.
The committee supported a request for $300,000 for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which currently contains $800,000.
Truro Housing Authority chair Kevin Grunwald told the CPC that trust fund money isn’t tied to a particular project, but members are always searching for a suitable property to buy for affordable housing purposes.
“If there’s a chance to acquire affordable housing, this would give us the ability to act on it quickly,” Grunwald said. Last year, $50,000 went to emergency rental assistance, but it was tied to Covid-related hardships and no applications were submitted. Grunwald told the Independent that a few weeks ago the select board agreed to loosen the criteria.
“Now they have modified it for anyone with financial need,” he said.
Such assistance will continue. The trust fund could also be tapped for plans related to the Walsh property.
The affordable housing project known as the Cloverleaf has received some state money but may need additional funds for infrastructure needs, according to Grunwald.
The CPC will also recommend a request for $25,000 to allow the housing authority to continue using the technical assistance of consultant Leedara Zola, who has helped prepare requests for proposals and conducted planning and housing assessments.
The final housing-related request being recommended is $15,000, the town’s contribution to the next two years of the Lower Cape Housing Institute run by the Community Development Partnership.
High Head Trail
The CPC will recommend allocating $78,000 in open space funding to the Truro Conservation Trust for development of trials on the High Head conservation land, owned by the town and the state. The plan includes 1.5 miles of trails running from the beach parking area on Route 6A to the parking area on Route 6. In a letter accompanying the application, the trust’s chair, Fred Gaechter, said the trail system “will both protect the land and open it to public access in a controlled and environmentally sensitive manner.”
The plan includes the installation of signs and educational placards as well as six benches for walkers to enjoy scenic vistas. Bicycles and motorized bikes will not be allowed on the trails, but dogs could enjoy them with their people.
Payomet People Memorial
The CPC will recommend funding a $37,500 request from the historical commission for the study of memorials to the Payomet People. Commission chair Chuck Steinman identified three sites under consideration: Pamet Park, a spot near the Highland House Museum, and Corn Hill. In addition to choosing a site, the commission will consult with historical and cultural experts from the Wampanoag tribe. The final product would not be “a plaque stuck to a stone” but a “creative object using contemporary ideas,” said Helen McNeil-Ashton, the vice president of collections for the Truro Historical Society.
The CPC will recommend a $49,440 historical society request to acquire Wampanoag art, construct a wetu for the Highland House Museum’s permanent collection, acquire Truro artwork, and restore a historic loom. After artifacts from a previous Wampanoag display were returned, the society realized, “We have almost nothing of Wampanoag and Eastern Woodland Art,” McNeil-Ashton told the CPC. “We want some funding so when something comes up for sale, we will be able to go for it.”
The CPC will recommend $106,000 to cover phase 1 of a three-phase project to digitize the town’s oldest records. Jim Summers, who sits on the CPC and historical commission, said it will save “a tremendous number of delicate documents” dating back to the 17th century.
The CPC will recommend $40,540 for Mobi-mats and fencing to keep the sand off them at three beaches. Susan Howe, a CPC member and chair of the commission on disabilities, said her panel was presenting the request on behalf of the DPW. The money will be used to replace some worn-out mats and add to the town’s stock.
$6,940 for 15 paddlecraft racks. The request was submitted by the beach advisory committee. The racks, which are designed to hold kayaks, small boats, and paddleboards, will be placed at Corn Hill, Great Hollow, Cold Storage Beach, and potentially other beaches.
$15,800 to add a section of native edible plants to the garden behind the library, with signage and protected areas for small classes, tying together the garden, mud kitchen, and the path between Sally’s Way and the library. This request is from the library trustees, Friends of the Library, and Sustainable CAPE.
$4,936 for Cold Storage Beach historic displays to commemorate the trap fishing industry, the icehouse, and the once vibrant community of Pond Village. The request is from the Pond Village Preservation Committee.