ESSEX— The Essex Housing Authority is developing plans for a possible 20-unit expansion of the Essex Court elderly housing complex at 16 Main St. in the Centerbrook section. At a Sept. 5 special meeting, the board of selectmen approved a change to a lease agreement that is required for the authority’s current plan to proceed.
The expansion would be constructed on a one-acre parcel at the back section of the complex. The parcel is owned by the town, and leased to the authority under a 99-year lease approved in 2002. But the appointed authority has established a non-profit sub-group, Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing Inc., to coordinate the expansion project. The lease agreement would be amended to include a reference to Essex Elderly and Affordable Housing Inc.
Janice Atkeson, chairwoman of the housing authority, said the authority has hired the Middletown-based Women’s Institute of Housing and Economic Development to assist in planning for the project, particularly in applying for loans or grant funds that could be used to pay for construction. The group earlier this year secured a $250,000 pre-development planning grant from the state Department of Housing, with some of the funds used to hire the Quisenberry & Arcari Architects LLC firm of Farmington to prepare a preliminary design plan for the project.
Atkeson said the plan for a possible expansion of 20 to 22 units would be used in the coming months to apply for loans and other funding for the project. If funding is secured, the project could be put out to bid and construction begin in 2014.
The new rental units would be available to persons over age 62 who meet income guidelines. The existing 36-unit Essex Court elderly housing complex opened in 1985, but has been renovated and upgraded in recent years with the help of grant funding.