Grants Allow Worcester (MA) to Buy Fire Apparatus

A new fire truck and upgrades at two city parks are on the city’s wish list for additional federal grants.

The city wants to fund nine eligible federal Community Development Block Grant activities through the one-time extended line of credit it has received for this year’s block grant program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Some of the proposed uses for the money include buying a new firetruck, funding improvements at Castle and Crompton parks, relocating historic Stearns Tavern, and energy efficiency upgrades at two buildings operated by neighborhood centers.

The supplemental spending, which is considered a “substantial amendment” to this year’s block grant program, was unveiled at a public hearing Wednesday night.

The additional block grant money became available as part of an agreement the city worked out with HUD, after an audit identified that $3.4 million worth of community development block grant allocations it had made for contracted services over a three-year period did not comply with federal regulations.

The city agreed to, and has since paid in full, the $3.4 million to HUD. It came from non-federal monies in the city budget.

The proposed amendments to this year’s block grant program using the repayment funds call for:

* Purchase of a new firetruck ($500,000).

The new truck will replace Engine 15. That truck is 22 years old, has been driven more than 101,000 miles, and has a considerable amount of wear throughout the apparatus, including major engine work that was done two years ago.

* A U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant totaling $51,290 came through for the Worcester Fire Department this week.

The money will go toward purchasing 260 units of attack hose and 56 units of supply hose.

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