Block grants approved for two Berlin projects

By Barbara Tetreault
CONCORD — The N.H. Community Development Finance Authority has approved two Community Development Block Grants for projects in Berlin — one to convert the former Notre Dame high school into senior housing and the other to rehabilitate Brookside Park apartments. The grants now go to the Executive Council for final approval.
The $500,000 CDBG for the Notre Dame project is part of a complex $7.58 million financing package put together to convert the building into 33-units of senior housing. The project was originally put together by Tri-County Community Action Program. Last year, Coos County successfully applied for a $500,000 CDBG for the project but the grant was withdrawn when TCCAP ran into financial problems. The city, which owned the building, retained the Littleton-based housing development corporation AHEAD to take over the project and this year applied for a $500,000 CDBG.
When complete, the project will address a need for affordable elderly housing.
Coos County applied for a $470,000 housing grant on behalf of Liberty Garden Associates, the limited partnership that owns Brookside Apartments. The partnership is proposing to invest at least $1.9 million in renovating the complex. Built in the late sixties, the complex consists of 13 buildings containing 14-one bedroom apartments, 76 two-bedroom apartments, and 30 three-bedroom apartments. The improvements include upgrades to all kitchens and bathrooms, rebuilding balconies and patios, electrical upgrades, and parking lot improvements. The planned upgrades are required to preserve tenant safety and comfort, increase energy efficiency, ensure the buildings' physical condition, and extend the long-term affordability of the property.
The complex has a Section 8 contract, which subsidizes rents to make the housing affordable to low income families and individuals. That contract, which runs for eight years, would be extended for an additional ten to twenty years.
The two projects were among six awarded more than $2.5 million for affordable housing and public infrastructure by NHCDFA.
Northumberland received a $500,000 grant on behalf of AHEAD to rehabilitate the Groveton Housing Complex for elderly and disabled residents. CDBGs were also awarded to Franklin, Belmont, and Alstead. The grants are made to municipalities and counties and usually subgranted to nonprofits.