ACUSHNET – The Community Preservation Committee (CPC) finished its review of funding requests for Fiscal Year 2019 on Thursday night, voting to recommend another five projects totaling $354,500 in spending to voters at the annual town meeting in May.

At the first round of reviews of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding requests for FY 2019 in late January, the CPC recommended $125,000 for five other community projects. Pending an endorsement by selectmen in coming weeks, the CPA budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 will total slightly more than $479,000.

Acushnet Housing Authority Executive Director Lynn Berube successfully campaigned for two capital improvement projects at the authority’s Presidential Terrace apartment complex. The first request seeks $138,000 in CPA community housing funds to upgrade the fire alarm system at the complex and install new emergency hallway lighting in all buildings.

The project application also calls for the purchase and installation of a new 15-20kw generator to power the community center during weather emergencies. The generator would give the 60 residents who call Presidential Terrace home a place to seek shelter when the power goes out, Berube said.

The generator would also move the center one step closer to being designated as an official emergency shelter for the town, she noted. The center can only be used as a “warming center” under state law unless shower facilities are installed.

The CPC also unanimously approved a second request from the Housing Authority, recommending the expenditure of $40,000 in community housing funds to help finance a large scale maintenance project.

Berube said the state has approved additional capital funding for the replacement of the siding and trim boards on all buildings, estimated at $170,000, if the town funds a share of the work.

The Building Department won approval of its request for $50,000 to construct a temperature and humidity controlled records vault in the new Town Clerk’s office in the Parting Ways municipal building. The vault will be used to store and preserve historical town records currently stored in the basement of Town Hall.

Only one of two funding requests from the Historical Commission earned recommendations from the CPC last week. The committee approved a request for $6,500 in historic preservation funds for improvements and maintenance work at the town-owned Long Plain Quaker Meetinghouse with a unanimous vote.

Historical Commission Chair Pauline Teixeira told the committee the grant would help finance the second phase of the ongoing maintenance work at the 18th century meetinghouse. The project started two years ago with the replacement of clapboards and trim work, done by town maintenance crews.

The second phase of the project will include the installation of new gutters and downspouts, window repairs, and a storm water drainage system, Teixeira said. The commission also hopes to get a handicapped ramp installed at the building, possibly as an Eagle Scout project, she indicated.

The commission will ask the town’s Department of Public Works to dig the trenches for the storm drains, aimed at preventing water from pooling underneath the historic structure, she said.

Not approved was a commission request for $56,000 in historic preservation funds to reinforce the floor at the town-owned Perry Hill Church. Teixeira provided an engineering study detailing structural issues with the first floor of the building, and recommending the installation of concrete support columns beneath existing floor joists.

“The way the engineer explained it, if this floor is not reinforced, we can’t use the inside of the building,” Teixeira explained. The commission hopes to rent the 19th century church out for community meetings, weddings, and church services once the rehabilitation of the building is completed.

Town officials have suggested that the old church cannot be rented for public use without the installation of a bathroom and handicapped accessibility improvements, an opinion being contested by the commission. Teixeira said the Mass. Historical Commission is being consulted on those issues, which if made would alter the historical integrity of the building.

“We’ve spent a lot of money on this (building) over the years,” said CPC Chair Marc Cenerizo, noting that the last time the commission came before the committee, he had opposed further spending of CPA funds on the church without a clear plan of the full scope of improvements needed.

Other members indicated that CPA historic preservation funds were nearly depleted, and the project should be delayed until additional revenues come in. It was noted that $40,000 in CPA funds from the town’s taking of the building six years ago were still being held in escrow, and would be returned to the CPC in Fiscal Year 2019.

When it came time for a vote on the $56,000 funding request, Cenerizo could not get a motion to approve the recommendation from his committee. The request was tabled without further discussion.

Teixeira noted that supporters of the church rehab project had formed a non-profit organization, the Friends of the Perry Hill Church, to help raise funds for the undertaking.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the church restoration project or to join the Friends of the Perry Hill Church group should send their contact information to the Historical Commission, 122 Main Street, Acushnet, MA, 02743.

The final spending recommendation used up the remaining $35,800 balance of the CPA historic preservation account. Budgeted reserves were tapped as the source of the remaining funds needed to finance the reconstruction of a riverbank retaining wall behind the River’s End Café on Main Street.

Café owners Mark and Susan DeSilva told the committee that the retaining wall has cracked and is beginning to lean over the adjoining Acushnet River, right next to the historic bridge pictured on the town seal. The building overlooking the river has been used as a grain store, cobbler’s shop and post office for the Head of the Acushnet neighborhood during its long life, they noted.

The couple said they have secured an estimate of $120,000 to remove and replace the damaged section of wall, to be finished so as to give it a “historic” appearance.