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Vacant lot could house low-income homes

August 22, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The vacant lot on South Potomac Street across from Bester Elementary School could be the future site of low-income housing.

During a Tuesday Hagerstown City Council work session, Community Development Manager Larry Bayer and Dave Jordan, executive director of the Community Action Council, said the proposal calls for nine owner-occupied units that would be ideal starter homes.

Jordan said each of the roughly 1,200-square-foot units would cost $130,000 to $135,000, and have off-street parking.

"We'd like to go from the concept stage to the development stage," he said.

The cost of the $1.6 million project would be offset by public funding, in part, from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, city documents show.

Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean told Bayer and Jordan that they should research ways to reduce the price of the homes even further.

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"There's still a large part of our community that can't afford $135,000 for a home," she said.

If everything goes well, Bayer said construction could start in the spring.

Documents show the city bought the property in 1996 so the Community Rescue Service would have a place to relocate.

That plan fell through for undisclosed reasons.

The property has remained vacant since then and, according to documents, served as a parking lot for the city's Public Works and Water Department employees.

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