Stafford Officials Break Ground On Woodland Springs Senior Housing Community

January 5, 2016

By Annie Gentile

On Monday, Dec. 21, with shovels firmly planted in the ground, local and state elected officials, members of the Stafford Housing Authority and the Housing Revitalization Committee, representatives from Big Y, and many other key supporters broke ground on the soon-to-be-built first phase of the Woodland Springs senior housing community project.

The project will replace the existing, decades-old 110-unit Avery Park senior housing complex.

“This is a much needed, anticipated, and forward-thinking project for Stafford. We really need more affordable housing,” said First Selectman Tony Frassinelli. “It was great to have so many people here for the groundbreaking and to have Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman as a keynote speaker. She was a real driving force in making this happen, and the governor has really pushed for more affordable housing.”

“Over the past five years, we’ve invested nearly a billion dollars in affordable housing. More than 7,000 affordable units have been built, and another 3,000 are under construction throughout the state,” said Wyman. “It is thanks to the great work being done in Stafford and towns like it that we are making real progress in ensuring residents – seniors, veterans, and our workforce – can afford to work and live in all Connecticut communities.”

Stafford Housing Authority Executive Director Ann Marie Perrone said the need for quality affordable senior housing is evident in the year-long waiting lists facing seniors as they search for housing.

“Woodland Springs Phase I will provide 79 quality, affordable apartment homes for seniors, disabled individuals, and homeless veterans,” she said.

The complex will be located at 87 West Stafford Road (Route 190) behind the Big Y supermarket, and is the result of a partnership between the Stafford Housing Authority and developer Real Estate Diagnostics, Inc. of Branford.

The project is being made possible through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program applied for by the Stafford Housing Authority, which will cover approximately $11 million of the project’s estimated $19 million cost.

The balance of the cost of the development will be funded through state grants and private financing. This includes a $500,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant, which was awarded to the town in March of 2015 to assist in paying for a utilities expansion project along Route 190, which would also extend to the housing project.

“The LIHTC is one of the most important tools at the disposal of the federal government to stimulate construction of low income housing,” said Congressman Joe Courtney, who attended the groundbreaking. “[It] was only authorized on a year-to-year basis, and that’s why I voted for the PATH Act which President Obama signed into law to make the Low Income Housing Tax Credit permanent, opening the door to more decent housing for our elderly and veterans.