Avesta Housing Holds (Tentative) Informational Meeting to Address Neighbors Concerns of Redevelopment of Former Adams School; Monday, July 30th

Marada Adams Park; Plans to Reopen by November

Adams School Condominiums

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,187)

A (tentative) informational meeting has been scheduled for Monday, July 30th at the East End Community School, North Street, on the Hill. It starts at 6 pm. The meeting will be hosted by Avesta Housing, a non-profit, that is in the preliminary stages of rebuilding the former Adams School into moderately priced condominium units. The meeting was organized by the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Assocation, Andrea Myhaver president.

The purpose of the meeting is to address concerns of the neighbors – many of which have accumulated over recent weeks. One concern is the lack of communication between the neighbors in the area and the developer, Avesta Housing, a non-profit housing agency with a solid reputation for moderate housing projects in the area.

An Avesta meeting was held in April of this year over environmental issues. The meeting was not well advertised. Not many attended. There has been little or no communication from the non-profit since then. There are efforts afoot to correct that situation, however. Dave O’Connell, of Great Falls Construction, (contracted by Avesta Housing) said this morning that at the end of each day, Great Falls will update Avesta on the upcoming days construction activites. (That might be changed and forwarded to the email list by the project manager on the project site.) This information will be forwarded to an email list of neighbors. Seth Parker, Avesta Housing, is in the process of compiling that email list. “We want to keep the residents apprised of the construction,” O’Connell said. Numerous residents in the Moody Street area are renters. They are transients with no knowledge of the long approval process that the redevelopment has already undergone dating back to 2008. Many new renters that mhn.com has talked to recently are frustrated at the lack of information forthcoming from Avesta Housing.

Avesta sent a five page memorandum to some members of the community on July 24. The letter was divided into four sections; Environmental Remediation; Construction Activities, Question and Answer and Pertinent contact Information for Key Parties. The memorandun also announced a July 30th meeting in response to a “significant” number of emails and phone calls to Avesta, elected officials and DEP officials from the public over the past week. The communications are focused on concerns about the envinromental impact in this area, according to Parker. Starting next week the current fence will be covered with plastic, so it won’t be as offensive to the neighborhood. At the same time, the site will be closed to the public, O’Connell said inside the on-site trailer. The matter of toxic waste and what is being done to monitor the situation is expected to be a subject of major interest at the Monday night meeting as well according to the July 24th letter from Avesta Housing.

Back in 2008, Avesta Housing submitted a proposal for the redevelopment of the former Adams School into modertaly priced condominiums, once called Beckett Green. It was the only developer to respond to the city’s RFP. It has been thoroughly processed with an Adams Reuse Committee as well. The economy and the difficulty in finding financing caused the redevelopment to be delayed and downsized drastically from its original proposal. Many new to the area are unaware of this lengthy process that the redevelopment has already undergone. According to O’Connell, a project manager will be on site next week, although his identify has not been revealed yet.

“These condominiums will be above average and a credit to the neighborhood,” said O’Connell earlier this morning. “I wish more people were aware of the fine and caring work that Avesta Housing is well known for.”

Please visit Post # 1,181, dated 7/20/12 for more background information.