BURRILLVILLE – The town’s effort to create more senior housing in Burrillville has received a boost in the form of a $250,000 grant for predevelopment.
Planner Ray Goff applied for the funding, which will cover design work for a new building slated to hold 60 income-restricted units on Steere Farm Road on a currently vacant lot adjacent to the elementary school.
Goff received notice this month from Rhode Island Housing that Burrillville was approved for the Predevelopment Grant Program.
“That will help us with doing our engineering and design work,” he said.
The proposed subsidized housing complex will sit on a 56-acre town-owned property by the town line with Glocester, acquired through a land swap with the developers of Steere Farm Estates sometime around 2017.
The grant is an early affirmation of assertions that the $20,000,000 project could be completed at no cost to taxpayers if it’s built on town-owned land.
“That’s why we chose it, Goff said of the lot.
The effort in town to create more housing for Burrillville’s older population began in 2021 with an initiative by Councilor Stephen Rawson to form a Senior Housing Exploratory Committee. Rawson now serves as chairman of that committee, which first met with legislators, stakeholders and non-profits to establish the need for another facility in Burrillville. A feasibility study completed by real estate advisors Bonz and Company, Inc. found that the target market contains approximately 7,969 income-qualified senior households, and that projects currently underway in surrounding communities will not be sufficient to meet the demand.
The board has since continued their work, exploring funding opportunities while investigating potential locations. The town-owned lot was chosen, and the committee hired Casali Engineering was to create a basic conceptual design.
Now, a firm will be chosen to create a more detailed road map for the site.
Preliminary plans envision one and two bedroom units available to residents age 62 and up with household incomes of between $0 and $42,000, ,which would be privately run. At recent meetings, members of the committee have met with NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley Executive Director Joe Garlick to discuss possible transfer of the project to the non-profit. The organization previously worked with the town to develop the award-winning Clocktower Apartments in a blighted former mill building.
And because there no expected investment from the town, the project will not require a RFP.
In addition to Rawson, the committee working on the project includes Vice Chairman Ray Trinque, Secretary Steven Foy, Jerry Leveille,
and Kelly Hunt. The target date for completion of the project is 2026.