Valley News – Newport Community Center has applied for federal money, but city officials are wary of bureaucracy

Valley News Correspondent

Published: 08/09/2022 22:37:09

Modified: 08/09/2022 22:33:53

NEWPORT, NH — The office of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, DN.H., last week announced nearly $4.8 million in federal funding for the proposed new community center in Newport, but City Manager Hunter Rieseberg has warned that it was far too early to bet on the full amount.

The money, if received in full, would boost the chances of voter approval for a new center, but Rieseberg was quick to add that there was a long way to go before the city received any money. .

“We have confirmed this verbally and in writing with the staff,” Rieseberg said. “But there are still big questions. How much will we get and when will we get it? Times and terms are yet to be determined. »

Rieseberg’s experience with other recent assignments is the reason for his tempered enthusiasm. Last fall, Shaheen’s office announced federal funding for a number of projects in New Hampshire and Newport was to receive $650,000 to repave the airport runway at Parlin Field. Since then, Rieseberg said, he’s had discussions with officials to understand and confirm the Federal Aviation Administration’s money requirements and still doesn’t have all the answers. One concern is what Newport might have to bring to the project.

After another $250,000 allocation for new windows and air conditioning in the city’s offices, which was announced last fall, Rieseberg said the city was later told it was requiring a $50 match. % from the city.

“We were told we could request a waiver (for the game), and we did, but we haven’t heard anything since,” he said.

Although the community center money, part of more than $89 million that Senate Appropriations Committee member Shaheen secured for 95 New Hampshire projects, has yet to get congressional approval, Rieseberg said he was certain the hurdle would be cleared. But what happens next is less clear.

The project could be referred to the US Department of Agriculture for rural development, Rieseberg said, adding that there could be conditions or limits such as a cap on the percentage of the cost of the center that will be covered by the federal dollars. It will probably be months before the city knows all the parameters.

In 2019, voters rejected a $6.5 million appropriation for a new community center and in March a $7 million appropriation for the same purpose was also rejected. Rieseberg said he was reaching out to donors who have pledged about $2.7 million to see if they remain committed to the project.

On Monday, New Hampshire’s congressional delegation announced it would provide Newport with $6.16 million in federal funding to improve the city’s sewage treatment plant, which serves about 2,000 residents.

The money will help solve a long-standing pollution problem with a system upgrade that past attempts have failed to fix. This project is funded by the Rural Water and Waste Disposal Development Program through the United States Department of Agriculture.

Shaheen’s office also said last week that the senator purchased $500,000 from River Valley Community College in Claremont to update its X-ray room with the purchase of a fully-powered X-ray suite that includes a table at x-rays, an x-ray tube, a fluoroscopic unit and a vertical x-ray imaging stand and associated control panel.

Turning Points Network in Claremont, which supports victims of domestic violence, is renovating a Broad Street location in Claremont for its new offices. She will receive $162,000 for the purchase and installation of a security system and a telephone system including a 24-hour hotline, office equipment and office furniture.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at [email protected]