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Amherst Housing Authority units to be renovated as part of $1.3 million project

— Affordable units managed by the Amherst Housing Authority are continuing to be renovated as part of a two-phase, $1.3 million project funded jointly by the town and state.

This week work started on two units in a duplex at the corner of Market Hill Road and Bridge Street in Cushman.

“It’s basically kitchens and baths that are being done in the units, along with heating stuff and a few other things,” said Denise LeDuc, executive director of the housing authority.

During the work, families who make their homes there are temporarily being moved to units on Olympia Drive, which were completed in the first phase of the project that began two years ago.

A total of 22 units in 11 duplex buildings, in what are referred to as the authority’s “scattered site family public housing,” are being improved. Two of the Olympia Drive units were intentionally left vacant so that the families would have a place to stay until the renovations are complete, LeDuc said.

“They will relocate for about three weeks and then go back to their current units,” LeDuc said.

Town Meeting three years ago agreed to spend $350,000 in Community Preservation Act money, to be matched by Department of Housing and Community Development Block Grant money, to fund a portion of the project.

Grants and other nonmunicipal sources are paying for the remainder of the units where low-income families live.

The first phase of the work included 10 units, six of which are on Stanley and Jenks streets, bought by the housing authority in 1988 and 1989. The other four, on Olympia Drive, were developed in 1992.

The second phase of the work features 12 units, located on Market Hill Road and Bridge and Fairfield streets, all of which were built in 1992.

Community Development Block Grant money has been used for improvements to other housing authority properties in the past, including $400,000 in 2007 to replace the kitchens at 30 units at Chestnut Court. Additional CDBG money in 2008 helped the housing authority install 10 new boilers in apartments at Watson Farms that improved outdated heating systems.

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