2015-02-27 / Front Page

Council OKs Habitat for Humanity project

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

After years of trying to make it happen, Scarborough officially has an affordable housing project in the works.

Last week the Town Council authorized Town Manager Tom Hall to sign the necessary paperwork to sell townowned property at 75 Broadturn Road to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland. The town and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland were expected to officially close on the property sometime this month.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland is planning to build 13 affordable housing units on 5.5 acres of property between Saratoga Lane and the Maine Turnpike. The plan was approved by the Planning Board Monday, Jan. 26.

The development will include 13 single-family houses, with either three or four bedrooms based on which style a homeowner chooses. There are three styles offered. Eight of the lots will be built in the traditional Habitat for Humanity style. The remaining five will be workforce housing.

The project was originally proposed as a larger development with duplexes, but Habitat for Humanity officials felt single-family homes were more desirable.

“The dream of homeownership for most people includes their own four walls and plot of land,” said Mark Primeau, a development associate with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland. “We have tailored it so it is 13-single family homes on stand-alone lots.”

Primeau said construction of the road will begin in March or April. Construction of the homes will begin in the fall and the full development will be completed by 2018.

The town will retain the rest of the 19.5-acre property, which will remain open space. The open space will be able to be accessed either from a gravel parking lot in the Habitat for Humanity development or from the end of Saratoga Lane.

Scarborough purchased the property from the Maine Turnpike Authority in 2006 for affordable housing and conservation.

Town Councilor Kate St. Clair was thrilled to see the project finally happen.

“I think this is wonderful. This has been going on for quite a while,” she said.

“This is 13 families that wouldn’t be able be in this town. It gives me goosebumps,” she added.

Town Councilor Jean- Marie Caterina said as a broker with the Caterina- MacLean Group at the Maine Real Estate Network she knows how hard it can be for working people afford to live in Scarborough.

Council Chairman Jessica Holbrook said it has been a “long road” and its success wouldn’t have been possible without the strong partnership between Habitat for Humanity, the town of Scarborough and the Scarborough Housing Alliance.

Hall said over the next three months, Habitat for Humanity will be holding 12 information sessions for prospective homeowners.

“As part of being a Habitat homeowner, you need to be approved,” Primeau said. “Part of that approval process is those homeownership sessions and completing 250 hours of sweat equity.”

Sweat equity is the idea that homeowners work on Habitat for Humanity projects or community partnerships before they can move into their homes.

The sessions will be held either at the Habitat for Humanity headquarters at 659 Warren Avenue in Portland or the Scarborough Public Library. The information sessions at the library are scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 6 p.m., Thursday, March 19 at noon, Saturday, April 15 at 6 p.m. or Saturday, April 18 at noon. Sessions in Portland are scheduled for March 12 and 14, as well as April 2 and 23. For more information or to pre-register, call 772-2151 or email homeownership@habitatme.org.

The Broadturn Road project is Habitat for Humanity’s first in Scarborough and the largest the organization has taken on. Habitat for Humanity is working to complete a 3-building, 8-unit project on Hummingbird Lane near West Street in Freeport. Since 1985, the organization has built more than 65 homes throughout Cumberland County.

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