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Huntington apartment groundbreaking November 19

Posted: Wednesday, November 3, 2010

HUNTINGTON – The public is invited to help celebrate the start of what will become affordable senior housing in downtown Huntington during a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 19 at the former Central School, 601 N. Jefferson St.

Quality Housing Development (QHD) along with construction and community partners will be on hand for the groundbreaking and to talk about the project. In addition, parts of the building will be open so people can take a peek at the “before” look of the school. Light refreshments will be available. The program gets under way at 11:30 a.m. at the site downtown site.

The project will result in the former school being developed into 35 one- and two-bedroom apartments for adults 55 and older. Rent will be based on income. Major appliances and window coverings will be included, and there will be some community space for resident meetings and some public use.

The $7.7 million project is expected to be ready for new residents a year from now. Application information for potential renters will be available at the groundbreaking.

QHD acquired the property from Huntington Community Schools and the rehab project has only recently completed all steps to move the project forward, according to Kenneth D. Adkins, president/CEO of QHD, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing for seniors. Adkins is also president/CEO of LifeStream Services, an Area Agency on Aging that serves East Central Indiana.

Funding for the project was made possible in part by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Maxwell Construction, Batesville, a company that specializes in these types of rehabs, will be heading up the project, and workers have already been on site doing some prep work in anticipation of moving ahead quickly with development of the property. Local contractors will also be hired as the project moves forward. MartinRiley Architects of Fort Wayne is the firm handling design of the building. QHD has also received notice that the National Parks Services has approved modifications to the floor plans so work can begin right away.

The Huntington school is a historic rehabilitation project, and some of the school’s features will be incorporated into the look of the new apartments. For example, in a similar project QHD did in Union City and Anderson, chalkboards were preserved in some apartments and used in the design. Likewise, other properties have retained the historic charm of the former schools.

The name of the new apartments will involve recommendations from the public. “We know this building is important to the community and we are pleased to be a part in making sure the building continues to be used and appreciated,” Adkins said. “In that spirit, we plan to offer the community an opportunity to name the new apartment complex.”

Mayor Steve Updike is pleased the project is coming together.

“After a few years of watching this building set empty, we are greatly relieved to see there will be some work done and that we can fill that building with our seniors so they can enjoy living in the downtown area,” he said, adding that the apartment complex will complement downtown and add to the economic impact. “We are very happy to have this happen,” he added.

Tracey Shafer, superintendent for Huntington Schools, echoed his comments. “The Huntington County Community School Corp. is excited about the development of Central apartments. We see this as a wonderful partnership between Quality Housing Development, Huntington Schools and the Huntington City community, he said. “What a great opportunity to meet stakeholder needs for affordable housing in the community and to promote economic activity in the downtown area, all while retaining the heritage of Central School.”

Steve Kimmel, executive director of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, welcomes the news.

“It is exciting to see activity taking place at the former Central School. The community is grateful to Quality Housing Development for taking ownership of the building. The residents of Huntington were becoming anxious about the future of the school, and they did not want to see the building continue to be unoccupied.  Since the building sits in the middle of town, it is important to see the building occupied and maintained,” he said.

QHD develops, manages and consults on affordable housing projects for adults 55 and older. QHD has been involved in the development and/or management of 15 housing complexes since 1995. QHD is a partner with LifeStream Services, an Area Agency on Aging in East Central Indiana, to help adults live independently. Both organizations are headquartered in Yorktown.

QHD, an award-winning non-profit organization, operates Pilgrim Place in Yorktown, Portland Place in Portland, Hoosier Place in Union City and Central School Apartments in Anderson. It also owns Starr Senior Apartments (The Atlas) in Richmond. The organization has also been a non-profit sponsor in other housing projects.

For more information, call (765) 759-1121 or (800) 589-1121. Information is also available by visiting