Eyesore to ‘bright spot’ | News, Sports, Jobs – Evening Observer

Community meeting addresses Silver Creek project

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OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce Region Nine Director of Development Mark Comroe, left, and state Sen. George Borrello are shown at Region Nine’s presentation for the senior housing development, set for construction at 60 Main St. in Silver Creek.

SILVER CREEK — The former Silver Creek school on Main Street has been described by elected officials and members of the public alike as an unsafe, eye sore of a building. The school, which has been closed down for decades, has been a topic of discussion for a property to renovate for years, and after Tuesday, the renovation is “as close as it’s ever been.”

On Tuesday afternoon from the Silver Creek Senior Center, Mark Comroe, the director of development at Region Nine Housing Corp., along with representatives from Long Associates Architects, RP Oak Hill, People Inc. and local officials gave a presentation to the public about a proposed plan to turn the old school facility into a Senior Center.

“Watching that school close and deteriorate and become this dangerous eye sore in the village, one of the first things I did when I became a county legislator in 2010 was think of how we could address this,” said state Sen. George Borrello.

“There are countless people that have tried to run at this. … This is the closest we’ve ever been. This has been a labor of love to bring this about.”

According to Borrello, the big breakthrough for this project gained steam with the Housing for the Elderly Program through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant is for $4.6 million, and is one of only 30 in the entire United States, and it’s the only grant of its kind in New York state.

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OBSERVER Photo by Anthony Dolce Shown is the large turnout of people to see the proposal for the senior housing project, that should be completed in 2024.

“That speaks to the hard work and dedication of everyone here,” Borrello said. “It speaks to the value of this project, the fact that HUD and everyone else recognizes that this dangerous liability can be restored, can be reformed, and can be a bright spot in this village.”

While the building is empty and in a state of disarray, the plan for the proposed senior center is to completely renovate the building and re-fit the old classrooms into one-bedroom apartments for low-income housing for people over the age of 62. In all, there will be 46 one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment in the facility, totaling 47 units. The facility will also include other amenities like a community garden, a fitness center, sitting patios, and more.

Of those 47 units, 15 will be set aside for frail elderly people and 10 percent of the units are planned specifically for people with mobility impairments, while another couple units are planned for people with vision or hearing impairments. Because of the lack of availability for elderly housing, Borrello knows that this facility is a huge win for the area.

“There is a lack of affordable housing for our seniors,” Borrello said. “This will be a way for folks to stay in the village, live in a brand-new facility, and still have your friends and family nearby. That, to me, is the victory here. This is a great place to be.”

Many of the people in attendance at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting attended that school that may now be their home in the future, which only emphasizes the importance the building has to the village.

“I think it’s unique to rehab a facility with the history of that school,” said County Executive P.J. Wendel. “You never gave up hope, the village never gave up hope, elected officials for many years never gave up hope and they continue to fight to see this through until the end… This is looking more and more like a reality.”

Region Nine is a 501c3 non-profit that is set to provide affordable housing to seniors, persons with disabilities, and families. Region Nine owns and manages almost 1,200 affordable units in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, making this the first project they’re looking to do in New York. Silver Creek Mayor Jeff Hornburg also voiced his support for Region Nine and the project.

“The village of Silver Creek supports your endeavors 100% and are willing to do whatever we have to do to make it come to fruition,” said village Mayor Jeff Hornburg.

Going off 2021 income bands, the maximum rent of 39 of the units comes out to around $592 per month with no other utilities included, while maximum rent of seven other units maxes out at $722 per month. There is an income limit for people living in the rooms, which is $24,300 or $29,160, depending on which rent is being paid. While these rates are subject to change by the time the project is completed, they serve as an estimate people can take into account now. The square footage of each apartment will be around 650 feet.

Construction for the project is slated to begin in December 2022, and the hope is that rooms are able to be rented out sometime in June 2024, as the building requires a lot of work and more grant funding is yet to be acquired.

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