$500,000 state grant to aid planned Avery Park housing project in Stafford [Journal Inquirer]

March 23, 2015

By Lauren E. Quirici Journal Inquirer | Posted: Monday, March 23, 2015 11:14 am

STAFFORD — The town has been awarded a $500,000 state grant to extend the public waterline and sewer system to serve the planned Avery Park housing project on Route 190, which will create affordable housing for 79 elderly or disabled residents and veterans, officials said.

The grant was awarded on March 16 by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy under the Small Town Economic Assistance Program, or STEAP, to assist with infrastructure improvement projects, according to a news release from the governor’s office..

The new Avery Park complex — which has yet to break ground — will cost about $19 million and be located at 87 West Stafford Road, also known as Route 190, behind the Big Y supermarket, officials said.

It will provide updated housing for 79 residents over the age of 62, disabled residents over the age of 18, and veterans, Ann Marie Perrone, executive director of the Stafford Housing Authority, said.

Sixteen of the units will be reserved for veterans, she said.

The complex will replace the existing Avery Park Apartments, an aging, 110-unit senior housing complex located off West Street. Shuck said those buildings were constructed decades ago and need to be redeveloped or taken down to make room for newer buildings. Either way, he said, the space will be used for some type of affordable housing.

The original plan for the new Avery Park complex consisted of 149 units, but the project’s timeline was altered to spread the expense out over several years, Perrone said.
“We think of this as stage one,” she said.

Harvey Edelstein, president of Real Estate Diagnostics Inc. or REDI of Branford, which is partnering with the housing authority on the project, said the new Avery Park complex will cost approximately $19 million.

About $11 million of the project relies on a tax credit allocation that the housing authority has applied for. Another $6.5 million would come from a non-amortizing loan from the state Department of Housing, about $100,000 would be provided by the housing authority, and the remainder would be covered by a mortgage taken out by the partnership between the housing authority and REDI.

The housing authority is awaiting the results of its application for about $11 million in federal tax credit funding for the project, which was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission in September 2013. First Selectman Richard Shuck said this is the third year that funding has been applied for.

“We’ve all worked very hard with the state agencies and state officials to move this project forward and make sure we scored the best we could in the grant applications,” he said. “I’m confident that we stand a very good chance at the funding this round ”

Shuck said that the results of the application would be announced on March 26. At that time, he said, the town would have a better idea about when the Avery Park project will begin. Shuck expects it to be finished 16 to 18 months after it begins.

Perrone said it will be funded through a combination of private financing, tax credits, and state grants such as the STEAP grant received for the water and sewer line, and will cost nothing to taxpayers.

“We’re very happy about that,” Perrone said.

The extension of the waterline and sewer system is part of a larger project being put together by the town, which will bring water and sewer capacity to Johnson Memorial Hospital and the Big Y plaza and extend a natural gas pipeline to the town from Enfield.

“There’s a need for quality housing for our seniors,” Shuck remarked about the project. “We have people leaving town who’ve lived here their entire lives because they can’t afford to live in their homes anymore … There’s no housing for them,” he said.