Downtown Worcester from Franklin St. (public domain)
The townhouse project, which includes the last 10 of the revitalization project's 44 total homeownership units, was funded with $550,000 in city affordable housing funds, $810,000 from the state, and $1.3 million from sales of the units (which should average about $130,000 each). Each town house will be ready for sale by the end of the July.
Yary Jaen, program manager and realtor for the Main South CDC, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette that she has been spoken with four potential buyers so far, all of whom live in Worcester. Of the 29 buyers for the other units Ms. Jaen has tracked, 13 come from the Main South neighborhood.
The maximum income requirement for a family of four, she said, would be about $65,000.
The importance of the CDCs in general and in this case the Main South CDC cannot be overstated. Not only is their goal to revitalize run-down areas of the city with new or restorative construction; but they also sell or rent to low-to-medium income residents, those who would benefit most from it; especially those who buy in their own neighborhoods, where they might not have an opportunity to buy elsewhere.
The allure of private development for Worcester is apparent and obvious. More new construction, more tax revenue, and less involvement from the city. But is that really better for Worcester? Wouldn't the public-private collaborative model do more to restore parts of the city that were previously thought to be “lost causes”?
All of Worcester's CDC's have proven that investing in residents that are already here can do more to turn around a city than a new tract of condos somewhere where they won't sell. Their good work has paid off to this point, and if Worcester is willing, will continue to do so in the future.