New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Housing Authority to get $500K for new headquarters and apartments
WALLINGFORD — A former convenience store on Wharton Brook Drive with two apartments on the second floor will be converted into the new home of the town’s Housing Authority, with an eye toward adding as many as 20 affordable housing units on the 2-acre property in the future.
Renovation of the vacant two-story building at 2 Wharton Brook Drive is expected to start late next spring, representatives of the Housing Authority said. Money for project, $500,000, is expected to come from the federal government with the U.S. House of Representatives having already approved the Community Project Funding.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, visited the site recently to celebrate House passage of the funding. DeLauro is chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and said the authority can expect to receive the money by the end of the year.
“The improvements supported by this federal funding will further build a sustainable and prosperous community where residents enjoy a clean, safe and comfortable living environment,” said DeLauro, who was joined by Mayor William Dickinson Jr. and members of the Housing Authority.
“As I toured the facility today, I met so many people who are deeply dedicated to ensuring that all Wallingford residents have access to the resources and support they need,” DeLauro said. “Not only to live, but to thrive as members of the Wallingford community.”
Housing Authority Executive Director Kelly McDermott said the federal money will be used to:
Replace the kitchen and bathrooms in the building.
Install new flooring and windows.
Replace heating and cooling units.
Install a new roof, siding and entry and exit doors.
Make entrances and walkways compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
When the renovations are complete, McDermott said the authority will relocate its office from 45 Tremper Drive, which will allow for the creation of three additional affordable housing units in the vacated space.
The second floor of 2 Wharton Brook Drive will be used for a pair of affordable housing units, she said.
Housing Authority Chairman Nicholas Lombardi said the agency bought the building and property out of foreclosure for less than $300,000 in April. Once the renovations are complete, agency officials will explore the possibility of developing the remainder of the property to include as many as 20 additional affordable housing units.
“In a neighborhood that has three public schools with walking paths, community parks and ballfields surrounding this property, 2 Wharton Brook drive will be a significant revitalization project that will reestablish this community gateway as safe and inviting,” Lombardi said. “This property has been the missing link in WHA’s portfolio and represents our commitment to promoting safe communities and developing housing in areas of opportunity.”
McDermott said when the convenience store was still in business and was selling beer and cigarettes, neighbors frequently petitioned to have it closed.
DeLauro said she “is passionate about the project” because investing in projects like this will ease part of the demand for affordable housing. The Housing Authority has a waiting list for affordable housing units in excess of 1,000 people, according to agency officials.