Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nehemiah and Broad Park Still Short On Development Funds

The current economic climate, particularly the downward spiral of the real estate market have not been kind to plans for creating 17 units of affordable owner-occupied housing in Middletown's North End, East of Main Street.

Tuesday evening David Berto of the Broad Park Development Corporation, and Michael Taylor of Nehemiah made another presentation to the Redevelopment Commission indicating, once again, that they have not been able to obtain the necessary financial backing to proceed with construction and renovation of the housing units.

The funding plan is complex, mixing federal dollars with state, local and private money, but each loan or grant is contingent on the next. So when federal dollars are pulled back, as they were recently, or when local banks lower the percentage of finished market cost they are willing to finance, it puts the entire plan in jeopardy.

Progressing on the current path, the partnership would have to wait until a new federal application is available in June, with funding not secured until September. In another scenario, Berto explained that federal stimulus dollars might be available, and a relatively small grant of approximately $600,000 would allow construction to begin. Both Taylor and Berto explained that the project truly was "shovel ready" and encourage all commission members to make contact with state and federal legislators to promote the plan.

Taylor said that in a worse-case scenario, the partners would stagger construction and development of housing units, but that the approach would sacrifice cost savings for bundling the construction.

Berto and Taylor promised to create a list of the kinds of officials who would be the most influential in deciding where stimulus dollars would be assigned, so that Redevelopment Commission members could direct their comments effectively.

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