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Derry residents hope grant will help fix water woes

DERRY — Relief could be on the way for residents of a manufactured housing park who have endured the hassle of living with a failing water system.

Town councilors voted unanimously Wednesday to approve submitting a Community Development Block Grant application for up to $500,000 to help pay for water system improvements at Centennial Estates Manufactured Housing Cooperative, at 211 ByPass Route 28.

The town will file the application, competing for funding against other community projects in the state, said Donna Lane, a grant administrator. Any money received would then go to help the cooperative replace the single-well system with a new commercial one.

Residents of the park, who attended the meeting, said they are grateful for the chance to possibly receive grant funds.

“This is just like one of those gifts that just presents itself; that hopefully we are able to put our name in the ring, and hopefully get this so we can get this done,” said John Regal, vice president of the cooperative.

Regal said the current system is more than 40 years old, antiquated and at the breaking point. With only one well for 57 units, there have been a number of recent leaks and system malfunctions, he said.

Regal, who has lived in the complex for 30 years, said rents had skyrocketed for a number of years and nothing was being done to lower costs. But things began to change when the cooperative purchased the park from a private owner a few years ago.

For the first time since he has lived in the park, Regal said residents recently experienced a rent decrease. Despite the joy of paying less for rent, members of the cooperative agreed to a potential rate increase to fund the new water system, he said.

The cost of the project is about $850,000, said Angela Romeo, of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. The cooperative has received a loan of $253,000 from the state Department of Environmental Services. In addition, residents are putting up $100,000 of their own money, she said. Any funds received from the CDBG loan would go toward the project’s overall cost.

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