ASHLEY KOMPASS PHOTO
MANY HANDS FOR A LARGE TASK – Celebrating at the groundbreaking ceremony for affordable housing in West Barnstable, are, left to right: Richard Mason, Mass Housing Partnership; Julie Creamer, Housing Investments, Inc.; Paul Ruchinskas, Barnstable County HOME Consortium/Cape Cod Commission; Carmen Panacopoulos, Citizens Bank; Jo Anne Miller Buntich, assistant director, Town of Barnstable Growth Management Department; Kathy McGilvray, Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation; Patricia Belden, Housing Investments, Inc.; Barnstable Town Councilor Hank Farnham; Kris Clark, West Barnstable Civic Association; Mark Nelson, Horsley Witten Group (engineer); Rick Presbrey, CEO of Housing Assistance Corporation; Christian Valle, The Valle Group (builder); and architect Rick Fenuccio.
HAC breaks ground for 40 units of affordable housing for seniors and families
After three centuries, Parker Lombard’s last wishes for the farm that stood on Meetinghouse Way in West Barnstable are being followed through in full.
Lombardwilled the property to the town so it could build a house for the poor. The almshouse built there was abandoned during the 1950s and then became a halfway house for recovering addicts. Two decades later, the house suffered a fire and was finally bulldozed.
Art Kimber, then executive director of Barnstable Housing Authority, started once again, in 1986, to turn the Lombard Farm into a place for affordable housing. The site was approved for 32 units of elderly and congregate housing and, two duplexes of family housing.
This week, Kimber was part of a happy group gathered at the site off Route 149 for a groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s just wonderful to see affordable housing being built on this site, as well as the YMCA site,” Kimber said. “After all these years, something is finally happening here.”
The West Barnstable Communities, an affordable housing initiative of Housing Assistance Corporation, will offer 28 units of family housing near the YMCA on Route 132 and 12 units of senior housing at the Lombard land off Route 149. Near the YMCA on Route 132, the family units will consist of 10 3-bedroom and 18 2-bedroom apartments in seven buildings. The senior development’s units are for individuals 55 and older. The residents of both developments must have incomes that are 60 percent or less of the area median income.
“Those who think this is just beginning have no idea how long it took HAC to get here,” said Richard Mason of the Mass. Housing Partnership. HAC responded in 2004 to a request for proposals from the town.
Judy Barnet, HAC board member, who worked with Kimber in the ‘80s, said, “We even think the older West Barnstable folk fighting us back then (in the ‘80s) will live here now – which is great.”
The builder of the new affordable units is The Valle Group Inc. “We build whatever we build it as if we are living in it ourselves,” said Joe Valle, chairman and CEO. The project architect is Brown Lindquist Fenucio & Raber, and Horsley Witten Group is providing the engineering. HAC’s consulting partner on the project is Housing Investments, Inc.
The $11.2 million project is funded primarily with low- Income housing tax credits through the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Other funders include: the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mass. Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Mass. Housing Partnership Fund, Mass. Housing Investment Corporation, Barnstable County HOME Consortium, the Town of Barnstable Community Preservation Committee, Citizens Bank and TD Banknorth.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on June 30, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey encouraged other villages in Barnstable to get to work and accomplish what West Barnstable has.