The Wood Township Supervisors passed a resolution at the monthly meeting Aug. 7 and signed documents necessary to apply for a $750,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant to assist with township plans to transform the former Robertsdale Elementary School into senior apartments.
The action was taken by the supervisors following a required public hearing held in the township municipal building in Robertsdale. Casting the unanimous vote were Supervisors Tom Love, Bill Black and chairman Kirby Lockard.
The public hearing was called to address the township’s collaboration with Center for Community Action (CAA) in the municipality’s search for funding to support the proposed senior housing project.
“The AHP grant is being sought through the Federal Home Loan (FHL) Bank in partnership with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHEA),” explained CCA executive director Wendy Melius. “The application will be for funds to assist with the senior apartments project at the old Robertsdale Elementary School.”
In accordance with federal law the funding will help provide low to moderately-low income seniors with safe and affordable housing, added Makayla Bollman, the CCA’s director of resource development.
The proposed housing project was explained to the public as well as township solicitor Richard Wilson, who was on hand to review and answer questions regarding the municipality’s legal responsibilities if it becomes necessary for the township to borrow interim money for the project.
Tentative plans call for a first-phase senior housing development consisting of nine units at a projected cost of between $1.8 to $1.9 million. Looking to the future and subject to available funding, the entire senior housing project (additional housing units) will cost about $3.7 million.
Last month, the CCA learned that $100,000 in Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) funding was approved for the Robertsdale project while an additional $100,000 was ratified for the development of senior housing in the former Defiance Elementary School in neighboring Broad Top Township, Bedford County.
In May, Wood Township agreed to apply for a HOME grant to assist with the first phase of the project, but at Wednesday night’s meeting the supervisors withdrew the application. Melius said that the municipality can reapply for the funding later, once other funding is lined up for the first phase of the project.
The deadline for submitting the AHP grant application was Aug. 8. The township should know sometime in December if the funding is approved, noted Melius.
In an unrelated matter, Chairman Lockard announced that a public auction will be held at the Robertsdale school on Saturday, Aug. 24, starting at 9 a.m. A large collection of school-related items will be auctioned off by Fleck’s Auctioneers.
“All auction proceeds will be used to assist with the conversion of the vacated school building into senior apartments and other community related facilities,” said Lockard.
Turning to other matters the supervisors listened to several citizens’ complaints about vehicles setting on township right of way in Robertsdale and Wood as well as “burn piles,” unsightly properties, etc.
The supervisors authorized Wilson to send letters to the property owners giving them 30 days to correct the problems.
Supervisor Black reported the need for the municipality to trim trees hanging over township right of ways in Robertsdale and Wood. In response Roadmaster Love and Lockard will be looking over the troubled spots with plans to trim the branches, and if necessary, remove the trees.