After problem with well is repaired, Charlestown gives Churchwoods the green light for residents to move in

After problem with well is repaired, Charlestown gives Churchwoods the green light for residents to move in

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CHARLESTOWN — It’s been a long and complicated journey, but tenants could be moving in to Churchwoods as soon as tomorrow.

The $6.3 million low-income rental complex for senior citizens 55 and older was slated to open Nov. 15 until water testing came back indicating the potential of harmful bacteria. 

After more than a month of work on its 50-year-old well, which also services the Church of the Holy Spirit at 4150 Old Post Road, the complex was finally given the sign-off on Tuesday by the Department of Health, said Geoff Marchant, former chairman of the Washington County Community Development Corp., by phone Wednesday. The corporation is a nonprofit that was instrumental in putting together the financing for the project. 

The town issued certificates of occupancy after receiving the Health Department’s certification Tuesday, confirmed the town’s department of Planning and Zoning Wednesday. 

Melissa Koseski, regional vice president of Wingate Companies of Newton, Mass., the management company for the complex, said Wednesday that once she receives the certificates of occupancy, tenants can complete the steps for moving in.

“When I do get the certificate of occupancy, then I’ll be able to call the residents and let them know we can start the move-in process, and that would be setting up a lease-signing, giving them information about how to put the utilities into their names and paying their first month’s rent. Then they get their keys and they can move in,” she said. “We couldn’t sign a lease earlier because we never knew when their move-in date would be.” 

The project comprises 24 one-bedroom rental units for seniors whose household income does not exceed 50 percent of the area median income, which was $55,836 in 2014. Two persons are the maximum allowed per rental household. 

The residential complex comprises seven one-story buildings: Two hold two units each and five buildings hold four units each. Five of the units are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 15 are built as adaptable  to ADA standards, and four are not ADA-adaptable. The project also includes a community building. 

The project was conceived in 2011 but can be traced as far back as 2004, when the town passed a $1 million Affordable Housing Bond, from which $50,000 was used for the project’s initiative funding and $325,000 to acquire the parcel from the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island.

When a number of funding sources fell through, the project stalled temporarily, but it was saved when Marchant successfully applied for a $4.4 million Community Development Block Grant for disaster relief from Superstorm Sandy in 2013. The Rhode Island Housing Resource Commission provided an additional $1.9 million grant.

Koseski said she expected tenants to move in over the next month, depending on their situation. 

“We’ll have the paperwork available, and some people will still probably move in in January but for those people who are super-eager, we want to make sure we get them in as quickly as possible,” she said. “It’s really exciting because when they get there, they’re going to love it.”


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