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March 24. 2013 9:34PM

Senior housing clears obstacle in Berlin

BERLIN - A former high school in Berlin will get a new life as senior housing, as stakeholders have overcome the last obstacle to the project. The city of Berlin has been awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for the Notre Dame Senior Housing Project by the Community Development Finance Authority.

The project will renovate the 105-year old building into a complex with 33 affordable senior housing units for low- and moderate-income residents.

The renovation was delayed slightly when the last piece of its $7.5 million financing, the pending grant from CDFA, was no longer available due to changes in the applicants' status. The original application was withdrawn in December, when the fiscal problems of the developers of the project, Tri-County Community Action Program, made it unfeasible for the organization to continue. TCCAP had applied as sub grantee, with Coos County the grantee.

The Berlin City Council agreed to take over the project in early January, bringing on a new nonprofit to carry out the project. At the time, Berlin officials said they hoped that CDFA would agree to transfer the grant to the city, with a sub grantee of Affordable Housing, Educations and Development (AHEAD), but CDFA officials said their hands were tied, and Berlin would have to reapply in the next funding round.

At the council's March 11 meeting, councilors approved the purchase and sales with AHEAD. Previously the city had a purchase and sales agreement with TCCAP.

Another Berlin housing project is the recipient of a CDBG grant. Coos County was successful in its application for a $470,000 housing grant for the rehabilitation of Brookside Apartments, on behalf of Liberty Garden Associates.

Farther north, Northumberland will receive a CDBG for $470,000. The funds will go to AHEAD to rehabilitate the Groveton Housing Complex.

"Funding for CDBG has dropped 28 percent in the last 10 years. We need Congress and the administration to recognize the long-term importance of community development programs on the quality of life in New Hampshire and across the country," Kevin Flynn, CDFA spokesperson, said.

In all, CDFA granted awards of more than $2.5 million in this round of funding, including public facilities grants to the city of Franklin ($413,938), and $304,586 to the town of Belmont. The town of Alstead's CDBG application for a housing grant of $258,000 was also approved.

sknox@newstote.com


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