video conference 5230746 640On April 27th, at 7:00 pm, the FHA will host the second open meeting regarding the future of Beechmast Pond. As a reminder, the FHA is considering whether to keep the pond as is, to turn it into a wetlands, or to restore it to its original state—a free-running stream. After the next open meeting, a survey will be sent to residents, and the Board will make a decision about which option to pursue.

Since the first presentation, we have learned more about the availability of grants that would cover some of the costs. Here’s what we know now:

• There are two state grant programs that are considerations for our project. One accepts applications in January, and the other accepts applications year-round.

• We expect that it will take a year to obtain a grant and then another year to obtain all necessary construction permits. So, this is a two-year project or longer.

• All of the necessary design work has been completed to submit a grant application. Each grant application will cost about $1,500.

• Grants are available for the wetlands conversion, but there are fewer opportunities, and they would cover less than the 50% contribution that could be available for restoring it to a stream.

• The grant has to be submitted through a non-profit partner with an environmental mission statement. They would technically become the applicant for the grant. There are a number of such agencies that would be appropriate.

You can read more about the project in the October newsletter, and in the summary of the first open meeting in the March newsletter.

You will receive any further information we obtain and an invitation to register for the open meeting closer to the meeting.

—Jesse Fearrington (grounds@fhaboard.org)