Plan to better neighborhood takes leap forward


By: Kelly Voll | The Citizen | Story Created: 09/13/2012 09:53 PM

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“We are undertaking a project that has financing. It’s obviously underway,” said Ben Lockwood, director of development for Housing Visions. “It will result in 35 units of quality, affordable rental housing.”

Housing Visions purchases and develops homes, either by demolishing them and rebuilding or rehabilitating old homes in neighborhoods that may be declining due to crime, deterioration of the buildings and other factors, according to the not-for-profit’s brochure.

New and revitalized housing for the S. E. Payne Cornerstone Apartments will be along Orchard, Clark, Washington and James streets, according to a diagram of the project plan.

Residents of the apartments will have access to community space, a laundry facility, a computer lab, a community kitchen, off-street parking and green space, according to a press release. Rent, not including utilities, will range from $473 to $870 per month and will likely be utilized by households at or below 60 percent of the average income in the area. Persons with disabilities are another targeted group of residents for the apartments, according to Housing Visions.

Funding came from several sources, including Key Community Development Corporation (KeyBank), the New York State Housing Trust Fund, the City of Auburn, the Allyn Foundation and the New York State Regional Economic Development Council.

Lockwood said the physical appearance of rental properties is important, but so is having residents who are proud of where they live and are respectful of their environment.

“Even though this is rental housing, let’s strive to have the best residents,” he said.

Daniel Buyer, assistant commissioner for regional affairs with NYS Homes & Community Renewal, said the push by residents to have a better, safer neighborhood was what led to the project.

“The best neighborhoods lead change from within,” he said. “The neighbors have spoken. They’ve articulated a clear vision for what they want for the future.”