The Town's Affordable Housing Committee meets on April 5 at 6 pm in the Fire Station to discuss and get feedback on plans to convert the Oliphant administration building and surrounding property into affordable housing. Have your say in this project.
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CONTACT: Matt Sheley at (401) 842-6543 or email@example.com
OLIPHANT SCHOOL AFFORDABLE HOUSING ON THE AGENDA
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (MARCH 28, 2022) – Hearing the call for more affordable housing, the Town of Middletown is looking at every option to potentially address those concerns.
On Tuesday, April 5, the Town’s Affordable Housing Committee is meeting at 6 pm in the Fire Station community room to get feedback on a proposal to convert the Oliphant administration building and surrounding land into affordable housing.
According to the latest designs from consultant Francis Spinella, the existing Oliphant School could be converted into up to 17 mostly single-bedroom units. On the ballfields and playground portion of the property north of the administration building, Spinella’s plans show that up to four new buildings could be constructed with up to 23 new units.
Before that could take place, Town officials acknowledged a number of pieces needed to come together. And before things get too far down the path, Town officials said it was important to get input from those who live and work around 26 Oliphant Lane
“We all hear and know what’s happening in Middletown and the Town Council has made it clear they want to do everything reasonably possible they can to help,” Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said. “This is one of several strategies the council has laid out to help make Middletown an even better place for people to live, work and play.”
Mirroring a theme heard across the country, some people say the prices of homes and apartments are out of reach for middle and lower income earners in Town.
According to Rhode Island Housing statistics, the average price for a two-bedroom apartment in Middletown including utilities was $1,724 in 2021. That’s up $279 from 2016, when the average price for the same unit was $1,446.
In response, Middletown has seen a strong response from the private sector to the call for more housing. Over the past several months, close to 500 units of new housing have been proposed or approved in Town.
While some of those are planned for market rates, about 200 are being classified as “affordable” or “work force” housing.
That’s led by the “Middletown Commons” project on 15 underused acres at 600-770 West Main Road, a game changing public-private partnership that includes 15 three-bedroom units, 95 two-bedroom units and 40 one-bedroom units. For more on that proposal, visit https://mdl.town/MiddletownCommons online or contact the Planning Department in Town Hall during normal business hours.
In March 2021, the council voted to re-start the work of the Senior Affordable Housing Committee, with a separate Affordable Housing Committee formed around the same period. Realizing those bodies were pursuing similar aims, they were merged a short time later.
Today, council President Paul M. Rodrigues and council members M. Theresa Santos and Dennis Turano serve on the committee as liaisons from the council, with Arthur S. Weber Jr. the representative from the Planning Board. Karen Biastre, Kim Blass, Christopher Bove, Alicia Hicks and Elizabeth Morancy serve as resident representatives to the group.
Since then, the committee has focused on reusing the Oliphant property as well as the former Peckham School next to the Middletown Senior Center at 650 Green End Avenue for affordable housing. Previously, the council dismissed the idea of using the Linden Park property at 141 West Main Road, saying there were too many issues with the concept there.
At the beginning of the process, the Town hired Spinella to assist with its affordable housing efforts. A local resident, Spinella has successfully guided a number of projects to completion. To see the latest plan for the Oliphant property, visit https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/4252/Oliphant-Affordable-Housing-Report-21722 online.
Document Link: https://www.middletownri.com/DocumentCenter/View/4257/nycu-affordable-housing