City senior housing plan nets $1.35M federal grant

VERGENNES — The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the Addison County Community Trust (ACCT) $1,355,200 in grants to help finance a proposed 25-unit senior housing project off of Monkton Road.
The grant, confirmed by U.S. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., was a key funding component to the total $5.8 million project that will be built on a 6.5-acre lot adjacent to the Vergennes American Legion and the Shaw’s Supermarket plaza.
“This beautiful, new 25-apartment building… will become a focus of the very active elderly community in Vergennes, including hosting the weekly senior luncheons and providing a home for the local ‘Meals on Wheels’ outreach program,” ACCT Executive Director Terry McKnight said. “These will be really nice homes.”
The proposed 25,000-square-foot apartment building was awarded its local permit last May and earned Act 250 approval in September.
Housing Vermont is, and will remain, ACCT’s partner in developing and managing the project.
In addition to the HUD grant, the project has received funding through the Vermont Community Development Program ($500,000); The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board ($300,000); and a federal HOME grant of $425,000. There are also federal tax credits that have been sold to private investors — principally local Vermont banks — that provide $3,275,000 of equity for the project, McKnight noted.
The project will feature a library, a “family kitchen area” that can host small groups, and an activity area that can host larger groups, including up to three dozen outside visitors.
The city’s development review board (DRB) approved the project with several conditions: that planned regular senior lunches be limited to Tuesdays and Thursdays, that a chain-link fence be built along the southern edge of the property, and that proposed pedestrian paths to the nearby shopping center and to Main Street be properly maintained.
The DRB’s approval of the project also created two smaller parcels out of a larger 11.93-acre parcel owned by Housing Vermont, one of 4.34 acres and one of 1.08 acres. Middlebury’s Mary Johnson Children’s Center has eyed the smaller parcel for a similar program there.
McKnight credited city, state and federal officials for working collaboratively on a project that will help meet a growing need. The ACCT recently performed a marked study that indicated there are now more than 100 households in the greater-Vergennes area that are income- and age-eligible for the new apartments. That number is expected to increase by 15 percent during the next 5 years, according to McKnight.
“Twenty-five newly constructed apartments will not solve the problem, but it is a giant step in that direction,” said McKnight, who anticipates construction will start later this year.

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