Con­struc­tion fi­nally set to be­gin on SteelTown Vil­lage

De­vel­op­ment will in­clude 48 af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal units

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Donna Rovins drovins@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mer­cBiz on Twit­ter

Con­struc­tion is ready to be­gin on an af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal de­vel­op­ment in Phoenixville. A ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for the 48-unit SteelTown Vil­lage was held Wed­nes­day.

SteelTown Vil­lage is be­ing de­vel­oped on 3.2 acres at Ma­son and Wheat­land streets. The de­vel­op­ment is com­prised of 1-, 2and 3-bed­room units, which will house a di­verse pop­u­la­tion of the el­derly, mil­i­tary veterans, per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and work­force fam­i­lies. The units will be con­structed as 3-story walk ups over flats. All the ac­ces­si­ble units will be on the ground level and all units will have pri­vate en­trances.

Pe­tra Com­mu­nity Hous­ing is the de­vel­oper of the nearly $13 million project, which was pro­posed in re­sponse to the need for more hous­ing op­tions for low­er­in­come res­i­dents in Phoenixville.

“This lit­tle non profit — Pe­tra Com­mu­nity Hous­ing — did what ap­peared to be im­pos­si­ble a few years ago,” Pe­tra Com­mu­nity-Hous­ing Di­rec­tor Steve Kam- bic told the crowd on Wed­nes­day.

It has taken sev­eral years for SteelTown Vil­lage to get to this point — the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony fol­lowed nu­mer­ous meet­ings, en­vi­ron­men­tal anal­y­sis and soil re­me­di­a­tion. Fi­nal ap- proval for the project was given by Phoenixville Bor­ough Coun­cil in March.

Among the is­sues faced inm ov­ing the project for­ward was the fact that the site — for­merly a

grind­ing wheel op­er­a­tion — re­quired ex­ten­sive en­vi­ron­men­tal anal­y­sis and site re­me­di­a­tion.

“We knew there was ar­senic here, we looked at this with our eyes wide open. We did a Phase 1 en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment — we knew there was ar­senic and the po­ten­tial for other con­tam­i­nant. But we had some re­ally good ad­vice,” Kam­bic said.

On Wed­nes­day, Kam­bic told the more than 50 peo­ple in at­ten­dance at the cer­e­mony, that all of the re­me­di­a­tion has been com­pleted.

“This Brown­field is now a Green­field,” he said to a round of ap­plause.

Among those in at­ten­dance Wed­nes­day were com­mu­nity mem­bers and lead­ers, Ch­ester County com­mis­sion­ers and some of the part­ners that have helped to move the project for­ward.

“This is what it’s all about. This is about what we’re sup­posed to be do­ing with our lives — to help peo­ple make it a bet­ter place to live,” said Don Coppedge, a long-time pro­po­nent of af­ford­able hous­ing in Phoenixville. “This is only the beginning — there’s a lot to be done. Let’s make it the com­mu­nity that we can.”

In re­sponse to a com­ment by Kam­bic about the role the bor­ough played in mov­ing the project for­ward, bor­ough coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jim Ko­valeski said the bor­ough did what it al­ways does with de­vel­op­ers — sup­ports them to make sure they build what’s best for the com­mu­nity.

“We’ve all come to­gether to reach this re­al­ity — to reach this dream,” he said. “We have a lot of de­vel­op­ment go­ing on down­town — that’s geared to­ward one part of the pop­u­la­tion. This is for some­body else. This is great. We need this in Phoenixville — we need more of this in Phoenixville.”

As Phoenixville con­tin­ues its trend of pop­u­la­tion

growth and de­vel­op­ment of higher-end hous­ing op­tions, the hous­ing op­tions for ex­ist­ing, lower-in­come res­i­dents are dwin­dling.

“As one of the wealth­i­est coun­ties in the state and na­tion. Ch­ester County is sought af­ter when it comes to find­ing a place to live. But the truth is — not ev­ery­one can af­ford to live here,” said Ch­ester County Com­mis­sioner Kathi Coz­zone. “We can’t stress enough the im­por­tance of af­ford­able hous­ing in places like Phoenixville.”

She added that the county has pro­vided $1mil­lion to the project, fund­ing for which also in­cludes Penn­syl­va­nia Low In­come Tax Cred­its, grants and pri­vate fund­ing.

SteelTown Vil­lage, with 48 af­ford­able homes, adds to suc­cess­ful fab­ric of Phoenixville,” said Ch­ester County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair­woman Michelle Kich­line. “We all know that the di­verse pop­u­la­tion of peo­ple who will come to live here — veterans, fam­i­lies, those with dis­abil­i­ties and the el­derly — will con­tinue to con­trib­ute to a thriv­ing Phoenixville com­mu­nity.”

Kam­bic ad­mits there were times as the process moved for­ward, “where we had to stop and catch our breath, where we thought we weren’t go­ing tomake it.

“There have been so many chal­lenges, but ev­ery­thing has been pro­vided when it was nec­es­sary,” he added.

Pe­tra Com­mu­nity Hous­ing has also part­nered with a num­ber of lo­cal ser­vice providers in the area. Ser­vices that will be avail­able to res­i­dents in­clude job search as­sis­tance, trans­porta­tion, and ed­u­ca­tion, ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease.

“For more in­for­ma­tion about SteelTown Vil­lage visit www.steel­townvil­lage.com. Email busi­ness story ideas to busi­ness writer drovins@21stcen­tu­ry­media.com

DONNA ROVINS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Steve Kam­bic, Pe­tra Com­mu­nity Hous­ing di­rec­tor — speaks dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for SteelTown Vil­lage in Phoenixville. Con­struc­tion on the af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal com­mu­nity on Wheat­land Street is ex­pected to take about 12-months.

DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA FILE PHOTO

Artist’s ren­der­ing of pro­posed SteelTown Vil­lage — a 48-unit af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal de­vel­op­ment in Phoenixville. A ground­break­ing cer­e­mony was held at the site on Wed­nes­day.

DONNA ROVINS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ground­break­ing cer­e­monies were held Wed­nes­day for a new af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal de­vel­op­ment in Phoenixville — SteelTown Vil­lage. Com­mu­nity mem­bers, Ch­ester County of­fi­cials, and project part­ners par­tic­i­pated in the cer­e­mo­nial dig. Con­struc­tion on the de­vel­op­ment is ex­pected to be com­pleted within 12-months.

DONNA ROVINS — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Ch­ester County Com­mis­sion­ers’ Chair­woman Michelle Kich­line speaks dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for SteelTown Vil­lage — an af­ford­able hous­ing ren­tal de­vel­op­ment in Phoenixville. Con­struc­tion on the de­vel­op­ment, which has been sev­eral years in plan­ning — is ex­pected to take 12months.

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