Gosnold is a town which encompasses the Elizabeth Islands in Dukes County, Massachusetts. The community has a population of about 70 residents, making it the least populous town in Massachusetts. Most of these residents live on the outermost island, Cuttyhunk.
The beautiful landscapes and ocean views make this community a well sought-after travel destination and the year-round residents have a deep appreciation for the island. However, the island’s seclusion poses several challenges for infrastructure improvements. Personnel, equipment, and materials must be brought to the island via boat, significantly increasing costs.
Cuttyhunk Island’s drinking water comes from an underground aquifer, which is drawn from a series of groundwater wells. These wells, and the island’s distribution system water mains, were constructed in the 1960s. Due to the age of this infrastructure, the community has had frequent problems with leaks and breaks in the water mains.
To address these issues, the community began planning a significant water system improvement project to replace the groundwater wells, upgrade their water pumping station, and improve their storage tank site. In addition, several thousand feet of water mains would be replaced or repaired to ensure residents across the island had continued access to clean drinking water.
RCAP Solutions leapt into action to assist the community in finding and securing funding for the system improvements. After reviewing the community’s plan and engineering report, RCAP Solutions determined that the best funding option available would be through the United States Department of Agriculture.
RCAP Solutions acted as a liaison between the community’s board of selectmen and the USDA staff. The RCAP Solutions team worked alongside the board of selectmen every step of the way, from the initial application to implementation, ensuring the necessary paperwork was submitted and deadlines were met. In addition, RCAP Solutions persists to be an available resource for the community, providing them with continued technical assistance, resources, and training opportunities.
In total, approximately $5.7 million was leveraged for the project, including around $3 million from USDA Rural Development and around $2.7 million from various state programs and town matching funds. To celebrate this milestone, the community held a groundbreaking event and walking tour as construction on the project began.