Preston seeks funds for generator at senior housing complex

Preston - Town officials will apply for community development block grant funding to purchase an emergency generator for the Lincoln Park senior housing complex after the facility lost power for five days following Hurricane Sandy.

"Right now, we'd have to put them all in hotels," First Selectman Robert Congdon said Thursday, "because they couldn't tolerate this weather."

The complex has 40 housing units and a community center.

The town will have to hold a public hearing later this month or in February on its plans to apply for up to $500,000 in federal Small Cities Community Development Block Grant funding. It also will have to say how it would use the money.

The Board of Selectmen on Thursday delayed scheduling the public hearing to allow time for the Preston Housing Authority to submit other possible project requests for the grant. The hearing likely will be scheduled for early February, in time to submit the town's application by the April 5 deadline.

Congdon said Lincoln Park is susceptible to lengthy power outages because the facility is located "at the end of a garden hose" of the electricity service line. He said the town does not have the money to purchase and install a generator for the complex.

Town officials do not have cost estimates for the generator, but Congdon estimated it could cost about $100,000.

Town officials said Preston also might be eligible to apply for federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds or other pools of money to pay for the generator, but those funds are uncertain at this point.

c.bessette@theday.com

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