Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire
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Keene Sentinel: Grand opening today for renovated Keene affordable housing complex

Oct 25, 2013
In The News

Construction is nearly complete on a three-year, multimillion-dollar project to demolish and then rebuild an aging affordable housing development in the city.

Keene Housing is hosting a grand opening of the 75-unit Brookbend East and Brookbend West on Meadow Road today, with community members, residents and local and state officials, including U.S. Rep. Ann M. Kuster, D-N.H.

The $14.5 million project replaces Cheshire Homes, a 75-unit affordable housing development that had been in use for about 40 years.

The existing development was demolished in phases, and residents were moved to other buildings on the property so no one was displaced, Keene Housing Executive Director Joshua R. Meehan said.

Most of the residents of the new Brookbend developments are the same residents who lived in the Cheshire Homes complex, Meehan said. So while the project didn’t expand the number of affordable housing units in the region, it did replace buildings that were in dire need of repair and preserve an important resource for low- to moderate-income families in the city, he said.

The Brookbend development is two separate projects, Brookbend West, which is completely finished, and Brookbend East, which will wrap construction on the final three buildings in December.

Funding and support for the project came from a variety of sources, including through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the N.H. Housing Finance Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program, N.H. Community Development Finance Authority, the city of Keene and Cheshire County.

“It takes a lot of people coming together to make affordable housing possible,” Meehan said.

Brookbend West cost $6.8 million, with $4.9 million coming from private investors and $1.9 million from public sources. Brookbend East cost $7.6 million, with $5.8 coming from private sources and the rest from public contributions.

One of the goals of demolishing and rebuilding the development was to convert the building design to a more energy-efficient system. All the units have highly efficient water heaters, light and programmable thermostats, according to a news release from Keene Housing.

There are 13 buildings in all, plus an office building. The project also included a new playground, outdoor pavilion and half-court basketball court.