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UPDATED May 31: The Arlington Housing Authority Board met via Zoom earlier this month to discuss the status of ARPA funding, approve several agenda items and assess the effectiveness of fire safety initiatives. The nearly hourlong meeting began at 7 p.m. May 16; Chair Brian J. Connor led the discussion.

At the previous meeting, April 17, the board had discussed the status of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding and how it would be used. At the May meeting, board member Jo Anne Preston requested additional time to propose alternative uses, which the chair granted. A later email from AHA Executive Director Jack Nagle said that the matter now will likely be on the June agenda.

The ARPA funding provided to the AHA has been designated for specific purposes, including the replacement of windows at Menotomy Manor, community gardens/rain barrels, a tenant services coordinator and a transportation van, Nagle wrote. “With the exception of the transportation van, the ARPA funding is already in the process of being spent,” said Nagle, who noted that the deadline for the AHA to spend these funds is Dec. 31 of this year.

Fire-safety protocol praised

The board discussed the effectiveness of fire-suppression canisters and other fire-safety initiatives. Nagle outlined that they are working on prevention and safety and collaborating with the Arlington Fire Department.

“The AHA has been and continues to work with AFD and tenants related to fire safety and safety in general,” wrote Nagle in an email to YourArlington, further explaining that the AFD provides training sessions to residents periodically and that the AHA will be working with AFD and tenants of Winslow Towers on a larger training exercise in the autumn. This comes after a kitchen fire April 26 in one of the top-floor units at Winslow Towers, 4 Winslow St. The fire department responded to the incident and reported that the fire suppression was extremely effective in quickly putting out the grease fire.

“If these devices [had] not [previously been] installed, the fire could have spread, putting the resident’s life at risk, causing additional damage to their unit, as well as activating the sprinkler system, which would’ve caused extensive damage to other units, the office, and displaced residents due to water damage,” wrote Nagle in an email to YourArlington. “These canisters were able to limit the damage to just the stove.” He continued, “The devices that were installed and put out the fire that was referenced during the meeting are attached to the hood fan -- and release when they reach a certain temperature,” wrote Nagle. “These devices had already deployed and put out the grease fire on the stove in the unit at Winslow Towers by the time AFD arrived.”

Recreation opportunities approved

The board unanimously voted to approve agenda items 5 and 6, concerning scholarships for Menotomy Manor residents, facilitating attendance at local recreation programs. After discussion, members approved providing up to 50 scholarships or funding permits for Menotomy Manor residents to obtain annual membership at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club as well as up to 12 scholarships or funding permits for Menotomy Manor residents to attend the Fidelity House summer programs.

Approved effort to possibly buy property

The board approved advertising a request for proposal for the purchase of real property. Under Massachusetts General Laws, government entities such as the Arlington Housing Authority must complete certain procurement requirements to purchase property that is valued at more than $35,000. “The AHA is interested in purchasing property in its efforts to expand affordable housing options in the Town of Arlington,” wrote Nagle. “This [request for proposal] will allow us to start this process.”

In other business, the AHA board:
    • Approved to Make Majestic Pattern by McNichols Co., a proprietary material in bid advertisement Addendum in accordance with M.G.L. Ch. 149, EOHLC Project #010135;
    • Approved certificate of substantial completion for Arlington Housing Authority entry-door improvement project, Drake Village Cottages 667-1, EOHLC Project #010105;
    • Accepted EOHLC resident service coordinator initiative funding; that is the state Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities; and
    • Approved annual meeting minutes of 4/17/2024; and
    • Approved regular meeting minutes of 4/17/2024.

March 25, 2024: Housing authority OKs heat pumps, learns of wage rates, state help

This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Jessie Castellano was published Friday, May 31, 2024, and updated later that day to include the correct (May 16) date of the meeting.

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