to build senior housing and senior/community center
WEBSTER – Sen. Richard T. Moore, D-Uxbridge, the Webster Board of Selectmen, the Webster Redevelopment Authority and Carol Cyr, Town Administrator John McAuliffe and the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH) are excited to announce that the Town of Webster has been granted the necessary $3.9 million in Department of Community and Housing Development (DHCD) housing subsidies to finance a $19.5 million proposal that will convert the historic A.J. Sitkowski School into 66 units of senior housing and a senior/community center.
The long-vacant 88,000 sq. ft. Sitkowski School is an important component of the Town’s on-going redevelopment of downtown Webster which will include a new police station, a proposed new library, and infrastructure improvements such as a pocket park, a proposed French River walkway, more municipal parking, private eating establishments and additional private sector investments.
NOAH, the Boston developer for the project, said construction will likely begin in late summer/early fall of 2013 and take approximately 14 months to complete. Upwards of 125 jobs will be created to help stimulate the economy.
Sen. Moore, a stalwart and longtime supporter of the Sitkowski School project expressed his rejoice with the announcement. “For many years, I have worked directly with the Town of Webster, developers, and state officials including, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, Secretary of State Bill Galvin and, most recently, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, to bring this important project to fruition. The Sitkowski school redevelopment will combine with a host of critical initiatives that will truly revitalize Main Street in Webster. It is really a state and local partnership, and I applaud all of those involved, especially the local officials, for their hard work and unwavering commitment.”
Selectwoman and Vice-Chair, Deborah Keefe, who has championed the Sitkowski renewal since beginning service on the Board of Selectmen stated, “I am very, very excited! I can’t tell you how much the Town has worked for the preservation and re-development of this historic building so we can create housing for our hard-working seniors. I pushed for the inclusion of a senior center so we will now have a beautiful new place for them and for the whole Town. We can have so many activities there! The new 9,000 sq. ft. center will have a new kitchen, dance floor, balcony, medical room, library and meeting spaces in what is now the old gym. It will shine!”
Town Administrator John McAuliffe added, “When I arrived here four years ago, the Sitkowski was at the top of the Town’s agenda. I was worried we could not get it done in time to save the building. I am extremely happy and relieved that we have been able to work with the developer, NOAH, our elected officials and the whole Town actually, to finally get this project moving. We will soon be able to stop spending much needed resources on preserving this historic asset and eventually collect taxes to re-invest in other critical downtown enhancements. It’s a great day!”
Carol Cyr, Community Development Manager and representative of the Webster Redevelopment Authority, which initially put the project out to bid on behalf of the Town said, “I could not be happier! This is such a joy. We have worked so hard for this day. It is a dream we had when we started to save this building for our seniors, many of whom even went to school here. I thank NOAH for listening to Town concerns and putting together such a good proposal. Onward!”
Don Bourque, Chairman of the Webster Board of Selectmen, said, “The Sitkowski was a top priority of all the Selectmen and elected officials. We have been working collectively on this for a long time. It shows what united, collective actions can accomplish. I am proud and happy for all of us as citizens and as elected officials. On behalf of the Town, I would like to thank Governor Patrick and in particular, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray for touring the site last year. Their support is deeply appreciated.”
Philip Giffee, Executive Director of NOAH, stated, “We are over the top happy for the Town. We have been working with the State to get this essential project funded for several years. The Town has been absolutely terrific. I congratulate them for holding fast under lengthy and challenging economic times. We are so pleased to have been selected and to work hand-in-glove with such passionate advocates for their Town. We thank the Governor and DHCD for this wonderful award. Since it is a historic property, we also thank Secretary of State, William Galvin.”
NOAH is a regional developer of multi-use affordable housing. They were selected by the Redevelopment Authority in April of 2009.
Giffee explained next steps for the nearly $20 million project which include: final construction drawings; assembly of complex financials, including additional funds from Mass Historic Commission; advertising project for bid; and finalizing the complex legal construction loan closing. Giffee further noted that this usually takes six plus months.
Once the project is completed, Winn Management, which has several developments in the region, will be involved in resident selection and management.
John McAuliffe closed, stating, “There are many people to thank for getting the project funded including: Governor Deval Patrick; Sen. Moore; Rep. Kevin Kuros, R-Uxbridge; former Rep. Paul Kujawski, D-Webster; Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Community Development Aaron Gornstein; the Webster Board of Selectmen including Chairman Don Bourque, Deborah Keefe, Jeffrey Duggan, Mark Dowgiewicz and Robert Miller; member, past and present of the Webster Redevelopment Authority; Olga Pappas; Joe Smith, III; Mary Ann McGeary; Paul Minarik; Office of Community Development staff Carol Cyr and Marsha Luksha; and our team of developers at NOAH.”