Nearly 30 affordable apartments to be built next to the Kilton Library in West Lebanon
WEST LEBANON - New Hampshire's first multi-family "net zero" building broke ground Wednesday on Tracy Street between the Kilton Library and the parking lot adjacent to the Mascoma Savings Bank branch with plans for the new three-story structure to be open a year from now.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster was on hand to congratulate Twin Pines Housing and its partners on the affordable housing project which will put 19 one-bedroom apartments and 10 two-bedroom units within walking distance of all of West Lebanon's small downtown, including an important hub for the Advance Transit bus service.
The building will achieve it's "net zero" environmental rating by using a "highly efficient, air-tight design that will be equipped with solar panels to produce electricity and an energy recovery ventilator system."
The apartment building will also have a first-floor community room, laundry rooms on each floor, an elevator and its own dedicated parking lot.
Andrew Winter, the executive director of Twin Pines Housing, with Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster
Speakers at the groundbreaking noted that the Upper Valley as a whole has a shortage, at all price-points across the housing spectrum, that is currently estimated at 5,000 units.
Congresswoman Kuster spoke of residents who have been left with no choice but to sleep in their cars in the parking lot at Walmart in recent months. She called projects like Tracy Street, which is being backed largely through the sale of low-income-housing tax credits made possible by the federal government, a "lifeline for economic activity" in the Upper Valley.
Kuster and other speakers, including Mascoma Bank President Clay Adams, said they continually hear from businesses in the region that attracting and retaining workers is being made more and more difficult because interested potential employees simply can't find adequate housing.
Making sure people have a safe and comfortable place to live so they can "be vibrant members of our social community and our economic community...is one of the most important public-private partnerships we can be doing now to build strong communities," Kuster said.
Winter noted that "two of the tougher properties" in Lebanon were demolished in recent days to make way for the project
Vermont News can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org