Downtown Worcester from Frankin St. (public domain)
The next-to-last phase of the Kilby-Gardner-Hammond Neighborhood Revitalization Project is upon us.
The public-private collaborative project, designed to revitalize 30 acres in Main South has given more credibility to the city's Community Development Corporation leaders as they try to be in a strong position to influence Worcester's housing policy going forward.
Main South activists and politicians alike went on the record yesterday with the near-completion of the 10 eco-friendly townhouses on Kilby Street. These townhouses, being sold by Main South CDC, will be available to first-time homebuyers with incomes no more than 80 percent of the median income.
The revitalization project, which cost about $2.7 million over nearly 10 years is a public-private partnership involving the Main South CDC, Clark University, the Worcester Boys & Girls Club and the City of Worcester.
The completion of the 1,250-square-foot townhouses, which are spread across three buildings, comes precisely at the time when Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien has proposed expanding grant opportunities to more private developers.
Administrators have said they want to finance more developers to produce market-rate units, while City CDC leaders claim that direction would decrease chances for neighborhood-based development, forcing areas like Main South to remain in an unending cycle of blight and poverty.
Within 45 days, the City of Worcester will put out a request for a housing market study. The study will inform officials as they solidify their housing strategy that they pass along to the City Council in the fall. Yes, before you say anything, someone in the City Government is requesting yet another study. You can be sure this won't be the last one on this issue.
When the final project is complete, it is expected to include 87 housing units, 58 of which are new construction. The final phase, which is still awaiting $6.4 million in federal funding, and has been since March, as you can see by clicking here, will include 22 rental units.
Other parts of this project that don't include housing specifically, are the Boys & Girls Club, which opened in September 2006, and $2.5 million in new athletic facilities for Clark University, which aren't yet finished.