Thursday, April 28, 2005

Public Spirit - Today's Headlines

Public Spirit - Today's Headlines:

Chandler Place has applications for two affordable housing units on West Street
By C. David Gordon

AYER -- Applications are now welcome from families interested in entering the lottery to choose owners for two affordable townhouse units in the 16-unit Chandler Place development at 30 West Street.
At the site of the former Chandler Machine Co., construction crews have 10 of 16 townhouse units well on their way toward completion and another six are to be built on prepared foundations. Meanwhile, Maynard developer of the project, James Coleman, reported during a tour of the project last Thursday that Acton Real Estate Co. had already sold five townhouses.

Front doors open on stairs leading one flight up to living space above. At this ground level, one turns left to enter the one-car garage or walks straight ahead to enter a utility room with the furnace.

Up the stairs, the first floor has a kitchen at the front of the house. The kitchen comes complete with counters and cabinets, stove and dishwasher -- all but a refrigerator. Beyond the kitchen extends an open diningroom/livingroom area with gas fireplace at the back corner. This floor has a half-bath off the dining area and a deck back off the livingroom. The shelf over the fireplace is one of two or three areas the house has outfitted with a built-in cable TV attachment.

Off a hallway on the second floor, is a bedroom, full bath, and master bedroom with double closets. Hardwood floors on the first floor can be continued on this floor by arrangement, should the owner not want wall-to-wall carpeting.

A third-floor loft area is finished with carpeting in all but the middle units in the two three-unit buildings, where construction cannot make room for a window, as in all the outside units. These lofts have large storage areas located under the eaves at both front and back of the building.

"I'm pleased with the way the project has come out. I really am," Coleman said at tour's end. "This is not a cheap project." Units present 1,564 square feet of actual living space, he said.

Helping create a sense of unity among the buildings is the very recently laid down first course of asphalt on the roadways and walkways. Once the buildings are constructed and the ground settles during the winter, the finish coat and landscaping will be completed in the spring.

Coleman's goal is to have buildings weather-tight by the first week of December, with new homeowners ready to occupy in January or early February.

A new neighborhood is in progress here as the townhouses replace an industrial site. At an opposite corner where Cambridge and Pearl streets meet, a new single-family home is being built. Land between the project and the next-door home on Pearl Street has also been smoothed out, ready for planting.

A families from Ayer will be awarded one unit, and the second unit will be awarded to a family from the region. The target date for two separate lotteries to be held is Dec. 18 -- thus, notification of a win "can make a nice Christmas present," Coleman noted.

A public informational meeting will be held Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. about the affordable units. Families wishing to apply are asked to contact the town's director of community and economic development, Shaun Suhoski, at 772-8221, by mail, or in person, to receive a copy of the application and guidelines for eligibility. The two-page application is due back at Ayer's Office of Community and Economic Development by Friday, Nov. 19.

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