Ribbon cut on new JCEO housing development

PLATTSBURGH An affordable-housing project three years in the making has finally come to fruition. Joint Council for Economic Opportunity has completed construction of White Pine Commons, a 32-unit housing development at the corner of Wallace Hill Road Extension and Military Turnpike. The project, said JCEO representative Bruce Garcia, has been in the works since 2005. After conducting a market study that year which showed a need for housing, JCEO submitted an application for funding to the state, which wasnt approved. The study was revised in 2006, showing the same need, said Garcia, and was finally approved. One of the things we recognized was that a lot of families are living in what would be classified as substandard housing, said Garcia. We found a need in the community for quality, safe, affordable housing for low-income working consumers. Construction began in October for the $6.6 million project, which received $1.5 million from the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal Housing Trust Fund and $486,000 in tax credits from that department's Low-Income Housing Credit Program, said Garcia. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Aug. 13, marking the completion of the project by Luck Bros. Construction Co., Plattsburgh. The 32-unit development consists of a community building and 16 duplexes, with a combination of two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments. Belmont Management, the company which will oversee the management of the housing development, has reported 23 of the units have been rented, with several other applications being processed, said Garcia. Tenants are expected to move in beginning Sept. 8. In order to qualify for housing, tenants must have an annual household income between $23,400 and $37,650, and pass credit and criminal background checks. Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Bernard C. Bassett said he is proud the development will provide quality, affordable housing for families in the community, given the need to house those working in the ever-increasing employment opportunities within the town. I have toured the buildings and find them to be attractive and well-designed, said Bassett. I'm pleased that there are units designed for families who have family members with disabilities. The development of a community setting with a recreation center and playground is another positive part of this project and their effort to have a community that meets the needs of all the residents. It is a change for the neighboring families but I suspect that in time the expanded community will be absorbed as a part of the neighborhood, Bassett added. Management is the key to long-term success and the JCEO plan to have effective management is in place.

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