City councilors hashed out details about a number of grants last week, expanding the size of a committee, establishing a subcommittee, and agreeing to act as receiving agents for funding.

Brownfields Assessment grant

The city has received Brownfields Assessment grants for cleaning hazardous materials from properties of interested developers. The most recent grant was received in June and will be available for three years.

Economic Development Director Thomas Kittredge successfully lobbied councilors to increase the Brownfields Selection Committee to seven seats from five.

The committee of five was established in 2012 to review applications and requests for site cleanups. There is one vacant spot on the committee and soon to be another, according to Kittredge.

He also requested creation of a working group within the committee. It would seek qualified professionals to evaluate and clean the sites, create and review proposals, advertise, and conduct interviews.

Councilors declined to participate in interviews with potential committee members, but Councilor Mary Mortier suggested filling one position with a community partner organization instead of an individual.

CDBG grant

The city will be a subgrantee for a Community Development Block Grant for a Volunteers of America Northern New England housing assistance program.

The $228,336 grant will help pay for a $900,000 renovation to the organization's High Street building to better serve individuals with chronic mental health issues or young people with developmental disabilities.

Volunteers of America plans two programs, separated on either side of the building, for individuals with chronic mental health issues and people with developmental disabilities who are aging out of children’s services.

The 12-bed duplex contains six bedrooms, two full bathrooms and two full kitchens that are slated for renovation. Afterward, it will be licensed as a level three mental health private non-medical institute.

There will be up to five staff members in the building to meet individual needs during the day, and two staff overnight.

The building formerly belonged to Group Home Foundation, which abruptly closed its doors in February 2016.

The city will submit invoices for reimbursement from the grant program. Councilors directed City Manager Joe Slocum to sign a letter of intent for the project.

Workforce training grant

Councilors voted to complete phase two of Front Street Shipyard’s CDBG for workforce training. The council accepted the $100,000 grant and authorized City Manager Joe Slocum to sign grant paperwork and a resolution committing to the project.