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September 6, 2013

Port's YWCA puits finishing touches on low cost housing project

YWCA's low cost housing almost done, lottery held for new residents


Local architect Andrew Sidford said renovations include a new back addition plus a renovated attic. He and others worked closely with the city’s Historical Commission to make sure the renovated house continued to blend in well with the surrounding neighborhood while at the same time squeezing every single square inch into the property.

It was a laborious process that saw both sides make accommodations, but one would be hard pressed to look at the green shingled house with impressive dormers and tell it was a affordable housing project.

“And that was the goal,” Feehan said, adding that such a goal makes the process more dignified or less stigmatizing for affordable housing tenants.

While construction began in January, the official groundbreaking ceremony took place in late February. Since renovations got underway, current tenants were relocated to housing units within the city and in Rowley. Current tenants will be able to return shortly while new tenants will start moving in as soon as Sept. 15. The last new tenant is expected to move in by the end of October.

Feehan and Sidford said the project never would have gotten off the ground if not for the efforts of Mayor Donna Holaday and Newburyport state Rep. Michael Costello who helped secure necessary funds. They also praised the Historical Commission, which allowed some leeway to ensure the creation of five new units, the city’s Community Preservation Act Committee and contractor L.D. Russo who worked with YWCA officials during the process.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated building is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. at the house. Those wishing to attend are asked to contact the YWCA at 978-465-922, Ext. 27.

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