Borough Council Looks to Fund $50K for Elm Court Expansion
Princeton Community Housing (PCH) is seeking an additional $50,000 in aid from the Borough and Township to help fund its $10.5 million expansion project for Elm Court.
Set to begin construction this summer, Elm Court II, an expansion of Elm Court's 89-unit affordable housing complex for seniors off Elm Road in the Township, is currently $1.7 million short of reaching its budget goal, said PCH Executive Director Sandra Rothe at Borough Council's February 22 meeting.
The project has already received $80,000 in support from the Borough, and $90,000 from the Township. The largest contributor is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which has granted PCH $7.1 million towards the expansion.
After receiving approval from the Princeton Regional Planning Board for the project in June 2004, bids came in approximately $1.5 million over budget at $9 million, and were all within five percent of one another. Since then PCH has examined ways to redesign the expansion. More time and money has been spent doing so, and there are still areas where costs can't be cut, said Ms. Rothe: "We need to build a substantial building that will stand the test of time."
Ms. Rothe explained that appealing to the municipalities will give PCH a better chance to obtain significantly more federal funding.
Scheduled for completion by the summer of 2006, the Elm Court expansion will add 67 one-bedroom units for residents 62 years or older who meet HUD standards for low-income households.
Borough Council told PCH that it might find financial support for the project by diverting funds from other commitments in its Affordable Housing Utility budget; it emphasized that the money wouldn't directly affect its overall budget for 2005.
"Money blows to the most efficient providers," said Councilman David Goldfarb, adding that unlike the request Council received the same evening from HiTops for funding, this project could assist the Borough by helping it meet its affordable housing quota.
The Borough has a $700,000 affordable housing budget for 2005. A total of $175,000 of that budget has already been set aside for the renovation of five low income units the Borough owns on Leigh Avenue, which is part of a multiyear project estimated to cost approximately $400,000.
Council agreed to examine the possibility of reallocating funds to PCH, as well as to research how many credits the Borough will receive from the project toward its affordable housing requirements.