Royalston receives Green Communities Grant for weatherization projects

Royalston Town Hall

Royalston Town Hall FILE PHOTO

By GREG VINE

For the Athol Daily News

Published: 02-02-2024 5:00 PM

Modified: 02-08-2024 2:07 PM


ROYALSTON — The town has received a Green Communities Grant of nearly $169,000 to pay for weatherization projects at five town-owned buildings.

The awarding of the competitive grant was announced in a letter to Selectboard Chair Deb D’Amico sent by Joanne Bissetta, director of the Green Communities Division of the state Department of Energy Resources.

Approximately $78,000 will be used for insulation and air sealing at Town Hall, which was constructed in 1867. Another $28,000 will be spent on insulation and air sealing at the Public Safety Building, with $24,000 for the same work to be done at the Phinehas S. Newton Library. Air sealing and insulation at both the fire station and Department of Public Works will cost a little over $12,300 for each building. Lastly, $10,000 will be spent on weather stripping the doors at all of the buildings, except for Town Hall.

Royalston joined the Green Communities program in 2018 and received a grant of $126,000 at that time. Town Building Committee Chair Tom Musco, who is also a member of the Energy Committee, said it was used for a variety of programs around town, adding that the grant was officially closed out in 2022, which includes final accounting to the state on how the funds were used. Musco added that a portion of the town’s initial Green Communities grant was used to upgrade some of the heating systems already in use.

“We put in an application for a new round of grants in September of last year,” said Musco.

The amount of the grant award, said Musco, was determined after a professional assessment of the five buildings.

“I called some neighboring towns, including Athol, to ask who they had used for their Green Communities projects,” he said. “People said a lot of good things about Rise Engineering of Rhode Island. So I contacted them, told them what we wanted to apply for a grant for, and they came out and did all of the inspection work, and figured out what needed to be done.”

Rise is on the state’s list of approved contractors for undertaking the weatherization work, according to Musco.

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“So, now that we have the money, we don’t have to put (the project) out to bid,” he said. “We’ll just tell Rise, ‘We got the grant, and you can do the work when you can schedule it.’ ”

Musco said the Energy Committee chose the buildings that it felt were in greatest need of weatherization. Asked if he could foresee the need to seek a grant for modernizing the heating system at Town Hall, Musco said, “Well, yes; but if we wanted to use Green Communities funds to do that, they don’t allow you to utilize the kind of heating system that uses fossil fuel. So, basically, it would have to be a heat pump system. That would be the case for any of the buildings in town.”

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com.