Adapted from a Habitat for Humanity press release.
Middlesex Habitat for Humanity of CT accepted a check today from the Riverbend Homeowners Association for the purchase of the Habitat owned property located at the corner of Morning Glory Drive and Tuttle Road. Plans by Habitat for Humanity to build a house on this land elicited outrage from property owners in the Riverbend subdivision.
The 5.1 acre property was donated to Middlesex Habitat for Humanity by Bob Fusari, who had retained ownership after developing and selling the Riverbend subdivision. Habitat for Humanity had plans to construct two simple, decent, affordable houses on the property, with the remaining acreage designated as open space. After meeting stiff opposition at the September Inland Wetlands meeting, Habitat chose to put the project on hold.
Members of the boards of both Habitat for Humanity and the Homeowners Association met several times last fall to look at different options that would achieve both organizations’ goals. “The goal of the meetings was to find a positive and acceptable compromise which we were able to achieve, commented Bill Gamelli, President of Middlesex Habitat for Humanity. We have so many families on our applicant list in need of affordable housing to raise their families”. As a result of continued discussions, an offer was made by the Riverbend Homeowners Association to purchase the property from Middlesex Habitat, making it possible for us to purchase land at some other location to build one or more houses for eligible families.”
“We are pleased that we too could find a solution to save the property and have it become open space for our children and families to enjoy, said Matthew Soto, President of the Homeowners association. We wish Habitat for Humanity well and hope that members of our community might step forward to volunteer at a Habitat building site sometime in the near future.”
Habitat for Humanity’s plans are already underway for the construction of a new house on Liberty Street. Manny Cunard, Associate Executive Director, said that “Habitat looks forward to working with anyone interested in volunteering on a Habitat build and we now have funds to purchase property to build additional affordable houses. It would be a wonderful gesture to have family members from the Riverbend Association come forward to work with us on a building project or serving on one of our important and interesting committees.”
“Many thanks to members of the Board of Directors of Middlesex Habitat for Humanity and the Riverbend Homeowners Association who spent many hours in serious discussion resulting in a positive outcome for both organizations, said Joyce Hatton Yarrow, Executive Director. We will work very hard to find a new piece of property for more Habitat for Humanity houses to be built by Habitat’s dedicated volunteers and staff.”