Apartments project moves forward

Published 10:10 am Thursday, November 15, 2012

AHOSKIE – Town officials here will move forward with a housing project minus one projected investor.

At their Tuesday meeting, members of the Ahoskie Town Council voted in favor of applying for a $350,000 Catalyst Program grant from the North Carolina Division of Community Investment on behalf of the Ahoskie Housing Authority (AHA) to assist in the construction of 12, one-bedroom apartments here that will benefit low to moderate income individuals with disabilities. The AHA wants to construct those apartments on land they own located on Everett Street off Memorial Drive. The entire project, which will be known as Longview Terrace, is listed at $1.2 million.

The $350,000 is $50,000 more than what was discussed by Council members at their meeting last month. Those additional funds – tacked on to support the water/sewer infrastructure needs for the apartment complex – are needed to help fill a financial void created by a decision by the Federal Home Loan Bank not to participate in the project. It was earlier projected that Federal Home Loan Bank may be a source of $300,000 for the project.

Bill Farris of the North Carolina Department of Commerce said at Tuesday’s meeting that $600,000 has been secured for the project from the NC Housing Finance Agency. He added that, if approved, the Catalyst Grant program could add $350,000 to that total.

When asked by Councilwoman Elaine Myers about the timing of the project, Farris said the goal was to have the funding in place by the first part of next year and begin construction at that time. With the construction phase of the project expected to take 10 months, Farris said the apartments may be open by early 2014 for initial occupancy.

Another concern of the Council was if the Catalyst Program funds, if approved, would impact the town’s ability to apply for any other grants. Town Manager Tony Hammond said that would not be the case, unless there was another project that wanted to tap into the Catalyst Program.

“That program is available for a one-time application,” Hammond stated.

Myers made the motion to proceed with the application process, to include the extra $50,000 request. Councilman O.S. “Buck” Suiter offered a second and the motion was approved without objection.

Farris reiterated remarks he made at the October meeting, saying the apartments were designed and constructed where everything is universally accessible – whether that’s a wheelchair or a walker; and that the bathrooms and the kitchens are built to meet the needs of physically disabled occupants.

Each apartment contains four rooms – bed, living, kitchen and bath. The kitchens are equipped with appliances.

Farris said the Ahoskie Housing Authority is already working with CADA on a plan to provide renter assistance dedicated for these apartment units.

The AHA has selected Tise-Kiester Architects to design Longview Terrace. Parker General Contractors will handle the construction.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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