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Town receives funds for study

The Commonwealth Regional Council (CRC) discussed an update regarding a Drakes Branch Economic Assessment Planning Grant, which included advisement from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to hold off on moving forward with the next phase of the planning grant until issues with flooding and erosion of the Drakes Branch Town Municipal Building and other surrounding properties in the downtown area can be addressed.

“Every time we go down there they’ve actually marked the floor and the first time we went down there — and this is just one example — there’s a crack in the floor about this big now, it’s this big,” said CRC Executive Director Melody Foster, noting a sizable increase at a previous CRC meeting. “The walls have cracks in it; you can visibly see it pulling away.”

She said the building also floods often.

“They have cords in the floor plugged up to their trucks because, you know, they have to charge their batteries,” Foster said. “They walk through that water to unplug those plugs to get in the truck. I mean, it’s dangerous as all heck what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis.”

At the Nov. 15 CRC meeting Foster said the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is providing $50,000 toward a floodplain study.

“They are providing $50,000 toward the study,” Foster said. “The cost has actually gone over that a little bit. The town is going to pick up the additional cost.”

She said the total project budget is $51,800.

“Once this study is completed, that will provide a lot of the necessary information. Most importantly how bad are the structures that have already been affected,” Foster said. “That’s probably the most important thing is to try find out what that issue is.”

She said an engineer will be hired to complete the study.

“The town office probably can relocate, I hate to say easily it’s not that easy to ever relocate anything but they can probably find somewhere to temporarily relocate,” Foster said. “The fire department with their rescue portion of it, that’s not as easy. You can’t just stick a fire truck anywhere.”

She said the fire department is working on an emergency plan regarding possible relocation.