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Friday, January 25, 2013

FROM CHESHIRE - Construction to begin in March on 20 units of affordable housing

Building more affordable housing is something we should be doing in Wallingford to get beyond our current 6% of the housing stock with the goal of meeting then exceeding the 10% target goal as set by the state.

Some of this effort can be kick started by supporting the said development in the planned Incentive Housing Zone in Wallingford Center.

As you can see from the article Cheshire was able to do this work with funding from the State:

The project is completely funded by the state. In April, the state Bond Commission approved $3,350,000. State Rep. Mary Fritz, a Wallingford Democrat whose district includes part of Cheshire, was instrumental in bringing the new development into town.”

It pays to investigate what monies are available to the town for projects and then go after them aggressively.

The below is as published in the Record Journal Friday January 25, 2013

By Andrew Ragali
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2224
Twitter: @AndyRagz

CHESHIRE — The construction of affordable housing off West Main Street will begin in March, with hopes that 20 units on Rumberg Road will be completed early next year. Housing Authority Chairman Bruce Klein said the units will differ from those in the Beachport housing complex on Rumberg Road. He explained that Beachport is a Section 8 housing development, reserved for the elderly and disabled. The new development will be affordable housing for “working people who do not have the means to afford housing” in Cheshire.

“The two pieces of property are contiguous, but it’s a separate facility with separate management,” Klein said.

The project is completely funded by the state, according to Klein. In April, the state Bond Commission approved $3,350,000. State Rep. Mary Fritz, a Wallingford Democrat whose district includes part of Cheshire, was instrumental in bringing the new development into town.

Cheshire spent $200,000 on submissions to the state Planning Board in 2010, and submitted an application to the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development. The town was then told the application process had changed, delaying the development. Fritz then appealed to DECD Deputy Commissioner Ronald Angelo, who resolved the issue. “I’m so glad,” Fritz said. “In my mind it was totally unfair.”

Fritz said affordable housing units are needed in Cheshire for retired residents who don’t want to leave their hometown.

“Mary has been very helpful in our project,” Klein said.

Three two-floor buildings with four apartments each will be built on Rumberg Road land that was recently cleared.

Two buildings on Rumberg Road will be renovated and converted into housing units, Klein said. One, the historic home of Cheshire politician Samuel Foot, who was born in 1780, now contains four apartments. Klein said the house is in disrepair and is being renovated to bring it back to “somewhat historic condition.”

Four apartments will remain in the Foot house. A garage, part of the Foot house, has two apartments upstairs. The lower-level garage area will be renovated into two apartments that will become handicapped-accessible units.

Klein said there has been a push for more affordable housing throughout the state. Cheshire now has eight units scattered around town — not counting the Beachport complex.

There is a “crying need for housing which is cheap enough for people who work for a living and need to be able to afford rent,” Klein said.

Rent for the new units has not been established, Klein said. Rent for affordable housing is based on annual median income in the area.

The apartments will be advertised for rent as soon as they are finished. Klein said DeMarco Management Corp., of Hartford, will be managing the property.

Town Council Chairman Tim Slocum aid his only concern about the new development is pedestrian access. Recently, a resident was hit by a car and killed on West Main Street. Town Manager Michael Milone said he’s in the process of applying for a grant that would provide $500,000 for additional sidewalks on the north side of West Main Street. Giving people a safe way to access shopping on the street is “a big priority for the council and all of us,” Milone said.

Both Milone and Slocum see the new development as an important step for Cheshire.

“One of the things that’s apparent is we as a community are aging,” Milone said. “It’s important that you have an opportunity that gives people away to stay in town.”

“Obviously, we have a food pantry,” Slocum said, “so it’s not a town without issues and a need for housing that’s affordable.”

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