Long-stalled senior housing may be back on track in Berlin

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BERLIN — A long-stalled plan to demolish the former Knights of Columbus building and replace it with senior housing appears to be back on track with a new financing strategy.

Joseph Bajorski, chairperson of the Housing Authority Commission, said the $15 million project is short approximately $2 to $4 million. He hopes to close that gap with a state grant and bonded town money.

"In discussions with (Mayor Mark Kaczynski) and discussions with the consultants basically they came up with a concept where one million would be financed through a Community Development Block Grant ... and the balance, lets say two million...the town would finance and bond,” he said.

Kaczynski was not available for comment for this story.

Town Council member Charles Paonessa spoke in favor of the bonding during the Oct. 1 Town Council meeting.

"We've spent all kinds of money on schools, we've spent a half million dollars (on) the football field. We need to support our seniors," he said. "This project has been going on for six years and we need to move forward.”

The plan would add 50 subsidized housing units for those 55 or older at the former Knights of Columbus, 143 Percival Ave. Disabled residents would also be eligible for the housing. The town purchased the property in 2002.

The majority of the funding will come from the federal government, including tax credits, Bajorski said.

The Housing Authority investigated using private financing to fund the project, but found that private financing would not allow the units to remain affordable by most standards.

Twitter: @leith_yessian

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