The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Department
State House Boston, MA 02133
(617) 725-4000



April 21, 2005

Shawn Feddeman
Jodi Charles
(617) 725-4025
Phil Hailer (DHCD)
(617) 573-1104

Chelsea, Middleboro, Eastham and North Brookfield to receive development grants

MIDDLEBORO – Fulfilling a pledge to create more housing across the Commonwealth, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today announced $2.31 million will be awarded to Middleboro, Chelsea, Eastham and North Brookfield to transform dilapidated, vacant or underutilized properties into rental housing for low- and moderate-income working families.

“These funds will provide people who live, work and play in our communities with homes that are not only affordable, but are also located in our downtown areas and village centers,” said Healey.  “We want to preserve the New England village model where housing is close to retail, recreational activities and other services.”

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will administer the federal funds through its Housing Development Support Program (HDSP).   HDSP is a component of the Massachusetts Community Development Block Grant program and is designed to assist housing initiatives with an emphasis on creation, preservation or improvement of small-scale projects for low- and moderate-income households.   Cities and towns with populations of mostly under 50,000 are eligible to apply for HDSP funds.

Middleboro, one of the four recipients, will use its $590,000 award to help renovate an historic downtown mixed-use building at 153 Centre Street and create one two-bedroom and three one-bedroom affordable rental apartments on the second and third floors.   The apartments will remain affordable for 20 years.

The Greek Revival building dates to 1849 and was Middleboro center’s first school.  It was moved to its present location in 1906 to make way for a new school on the original site.  The street level storefronts contain two retail stores.  The deteriorated upper floors have been vacant for over two decades.

Since 2000, Middleboro has received four other HDSP awards totaling more than $2 million for similar renovations to four other old, mixed-used downtown buildings.

North Brookfield will use its $860,500 award on the Duncan Building project to create six new rental apartments, five affordable and one market rate, through the adaptive reuse of this architecturally significant downtown commercial building.  The building, which dates from 1896, is deemed structurally sound with much of the original oak flooring and woodwork still in tact.  The first floor contains two commercial businesses.  The boarded up 2nd and 3rd floors have been vacant for over 25 years and will be substantially renovated for conversion to residential use.

The City of Chelsea will use $737,750 to convert a century old, vacant commercial structure at 583 Broadway into five units of affordable rental housing.  The project entails the substantial rehabilitation of two existing levels and the construction of a third floor to maximize development potential and to create a blend with the surrounding three story structures.  The project will result in the creation of one three-bedroom, two two-bedroom and two efficiency units, affordable to low and moderate income households for 40 years.

The Town of Eastham will receive $240,273 to move and renovate a vacant two-bedroom ranch home located on National Seashore property to a town-owned site adjacent to the Eastham Senior Center.  The home will be rehabilitated, made handicapped-accessible for a disabled household and will be affordable in perpetuity.  The building had once served as housing for National Seashore staff, but a 2002 septic system failure led to a determination that the house be donated or demolished and the fragile ecological site restored to its natural state.  After much discussion between federal, state and town officials, the Department of the Interior formally donated the house to the town in August 2004.

“These valuable resources are used by our cities and towns as innovative tools to help in providing quality affordable housing all across the Commonwealth,” said DHCD Director Jane Wallis Gumble.