It’s been nearly six years in the planning so when Meriden’s new $26 million rehabilitated public housing project officially reopened this week it was little wonder that it caught the attention of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
The 124-unit complex, renovated under a joint public-private partnership that included the state, the and private construction and management companies, looks like the quintessential American neighborhood today.
The 36 buildings, originally built in the early 1950s, sit on 22 acres and are now modern-looking, with columned front porches and side porches. The buildings are painted in mellow shades of green, gray and yellow. On some porches residents have hung out American flags while others have small potted plants.
Inside, the units were completely gutted and rebuilt using green technologies. Wood flooring and modern bathrooms greeted visitors to the model unit that was open during Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by the Housing Authority. Many of the residents had to be relocated during the reconstruction work, but most have been moved back in, officials said. The two- and four-bedroom townhouse style units will be fully reoccupied by Friday, they added.
Malloy was a guest speaker at the ribbon-cutting event Wednesday and the governor lauded the city, housing authority and the private companies that invested in the project for seeing the complicated project through to its completion.
He and other speakers at the event noted that the renovation project represents more than simply physically upgrading the site. Rather, it reflects a philosophy, by state and city officials, to provide a better way of life, a home and a neighborhood, to the people who will live there.
“It’s heartening to see people come home … to a better future,” Malloy said.
The newly renovated complex also saw its funding mix revamped, with tax credits and a loan from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, along with federal housing assistance. The housing project is no longer listed as a federal public housing complex and has a diverse income mix, with some of the units targeted for use by those at risk of becoming homeless and units set aside for families earning less than 60 percent of the region’s median income.