JAFFREY — A mobile home park received approval this past week for a nearly $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As part of its Rural Water and Wastewater Loans and Grants Program, the USDA awarded the grant and a loan of just over $2 million for major water and sewer line replacements in Forest Park, a 116-unit manufactured housing complex adjacent to Carey Park in Jaffrey. The loan has a term of 30 years with a fixed interest rate of 2.75 percent.
The Forest Park Tenants’ Association Cooperative, which runs the neighborhood, applied for the grant last December and learned of the greenlight Wednesday, according to board President David L’Ecuyer. He credited the group’s grant writer for securing the funds.
“We really need it because our infrastructure is in the worst shape you could ever think of,” L’Ecuyer said.
The co-op is responsible for maintaining its water and sewer systems, not the town, and he explained that it’s become progressively more difficult to manage repairs as the infrastructure continues to age. Leaks appear and can take time to isolate, L’Ecuyer said, so residents end up paying for water that pours into the ground.
A description of the approved USDA grant calls the infrastructure “antiquated and no longer functioning properly.” Working in phases, the project includes replacing all of the water mains and services, as well as a section of sewer main, and creating a stormwater handling system.
That USDA form says more than 300 people will benefit from the upgrades.
“This is gonna help us out tremendously,” L’Ecuyer said, estimating that the co-op could save between $50,000 and $60,000 a year in water and wastewater costs after repairs.
Aside from the USDA grant and loan, funding sources also include a community development block grant for nearly a half-million dollars that the town of Jaffrey applied for on Forest Park’s behalf this summer.
L’Ecuyer said the priority is replacing the water and sewer lines in at least three quarters of the park. The goal is to improve the roads as well, since they’ll be torn up in the process, though he said the association might need to apply for another grant for the asphalt.
The association’s leadership is scheduled to meet Tuesday with an engineering company, L’Ecuyer added, and a more detailed timeline might come out of that. For now, he said he hopes to see construction start in the spring.
“It’s a godsend, really,” he said of the USDA grant. “We could not — there’s no way of paying our rent and being able to [make repairs].”
Elsewhere in New Hampshire, the USDA also approved the town of Bristol for a $6,233,000 grant and a $10,567,000 loan, which will help extend the municipal sewer system to add about 500 residential connections. Work will include a pumping station upgrade and three new pumping stations.