PLYMOUTH – Accessibility Improvements at Gosinski Park have been approved at the state and local level and are moving forward, with construction expected to begin next month.
Vinnie Klimas, chair of the Plymouth Housing Authority, said that filling out the required paperwork for the planned upgrades at the 60-unit housing complex. It was a process that took seven-and-a-half years. It included weekly zoom meetings with the architect and the CT Housing Finance Authority for the past six months. But, now, the project has finally come to fruition.
Klimas said that the “long overdue” improvements will under construction over the next 12 months.
“It’s a go,” said Klimas. “Everything is signed, sealed and delivered. We’re moving full speed ahead.”
Upgrades will see six units become fully ADA accessible while the other 54 units will also see “substantial” renovations. Residents can look forward to easier wheelchair access to buildings and easier ability to turn in hallways. The community room will be increased to twice the current size and there will be walk-in tubs and showers and larger kitchen spaces.
The project will be handled in phases, with units being renovated in two “clusters” of five units at a time. While their units are being renovated, residents will be temporarily relocated to 12 empty, “idle capacity” units in Gosinski Park maintained for this purpose. The state, Klimas said, will cover these costs.
When the project first went out to bid, Klimas said, bids came back “way over budget.” The second time it went out to bid, the lowest bid from PAC Group LLC, of Torrington was still $800,000 over budget due to increased costs resulting from the pandemic. However, Klimas said, the state covered the $800,000 to allow the project to move forward.
Klimas thanked the Housing Authority Board of Directors, former mayor David Merchant, current mayor Joe Kilduff, this town council and the previous town council for their support locally.
“When the project came back higher, the town council had to redo the vote,” he said. “But, they still showed their support.”
Klimas also thanked Governor Ned Lamont and Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno for their support at the state level.
“Everybody worked side by side and shoulder to shoulder as good citizens to get this done for the residents of Gosinski Park,” he said.
Klimas added that Gosinski Park also has a special meaning for him. His mother, he said, was part of the original board that helped to build the senior housing units originally in 1965 and additional units in 1968.
“This whole area used to be a sand lot where a lot of us played baseball when we were kids,” he said. “I remember I got pretty upset with her at the time but she told me that one day I would understand.”
The total cost of the renovation project comes to $5,271,070. Funding breaks down as follows:
. $2,509,725 from the Department of Housing State Sponsored Housing Portfolio through the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority,
. $2,300,000 in Department of Housing Community Development Block Grant funds through the town of Plymouth
. $100,000 from Town of Plymouth Community Development Block Grant program income
. $50,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the Town of Plymouth
. $278,000 in Department of Housing Predevelopment Loans
. $14,877 in Housing Authority Property Reserves
. $16,663 in Housing Authority Equity funds
. $1,805 in energy rebates.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.