Nonprofit proposes affordable senior housing

  • 120 North Main St., Sunderland. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • 120 North Main St., Sunderland. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • 120 North Main St., Sunderland. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

For the Bulletin
Thursday, January 26, 2017

SUNDERLAND — A proposed affordable senior housing development project on North Main Street is closer than ever to completion.

“We registered one proposal ... from Rural Development Inc.,” Town Administrator Sherry Patch said this week.

If the senior housing proposal — submitted following an open request for proposals that closed last week — is approved by town officials, Rural Development Inc. will work to develop a senior housing development on a town-owned parcel at 120 North Main St., near the center of town.

According to the proposal request, the town is looking for qualified developers for the sale and development of approximately 18 apartments for low- and moderate-income seniors on approximately 2.8 acres of town-owned land.

According to the organization’s website, Rural Development Inc. is “a nonprofit organization created by the Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority in 1991.”

The nonprofit “works with its partners to expand housing and economic opportunities for residents and communities in rural Franklin County and the North Quabbin region of Western Massachusetts.”

Past projects include restoration of The Crocker Building on Avenue A in downtown Turners Falls through a grant, and Wisdom Way Solar Village in Greenfield — nearly 20 net-zero energy condominums with funding through the Massachusetts Community Based Housing Program.

“That culminates one step in a phase,” noted Selectman Scott Bergeron said at a recent Selectboard board meeting.

Bergeron recognized the extensive work on the project by members of the town’s Senior Housing Committee.

“It’s easy to talk about doing things, and then lose it by the wayside,” Bergeron said. “And we all know that things don’t happen overnight. So I just want to thank the committee, and the town, for supporting it.”

Selectboard Chairman Thomas Fydenkevez said the next step in the process is to look over the proposal and decide whether or not to move forward.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” said Lorin Starr, chairwoman of the town’s Senior Housing Committee, at the board meeting.

Patch said she expects there to be an update on the project during next Monday’s Selectboard meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the town office building.