ST. AGATHA, Maine — Town officials have decided that a market feasibility study is warranted to determine what type of senior citizen housing complex would fit best into the community.
Town Manager Ryan Pelletier said the town has been awarded a $6,000 Community Development Block Grant to conduct the study.
“We had a special town meeting on Monday night to accept the grant,” Pelletier said Tuesday. “We are proceeding forward with plans to conduct the market analysis to tell us what this region could support for an affordable housing complex.”
The town’s Board of Selectmen began looking into the idea several months ago and opted to apply for the grant to get the ball rolling. The town will use the $6,000 to hire a consultant to conduct the study.
Pelletier said an affordable housing committee has been formed to oversee the project.
The town manager said the committee is looking to the report to detail market conditions, housing stock, affordable rent and income statistics.
Pelletier said the town anticipates such a complex would appeal to senior citizens who are looking to downsize their homes and could use the money from the sale of their homes to move into the complex. That way, they would still live in the community but also could head to Florida for the winter or take extended vacations and not have to worry about upkeep.
“The report will reveal a bunch of things, such as the demographics of our area and the geographic region that we could serve with this complex,” Pelletier said. “Obviously, we would need to appeal to people from towns other than St. Agatha, because our town alone could not keep such a complex going.”
Pelletier said the housing committee hopes that a consultant will be hired by January or February to begin the feasibility study and that the document will be completed in the spring, with a final report returned to the town by May or June.
Town officials began seriously looking into the construction of such a housing complex after the town of Houlton moved forward with a similar project.
In May, Pelletier and Selectman Beurmond Banville attended a presentation in Houlton by John Egan, housing developer for Coastal Enterprises Inc.
In Houlton, Coastal Enterprises has been a driving force behind the establishment of an affordable senior housing project in Market Square.
The three-story apartment complex, which will have a brick facade and will cost an estimated $2.5 million, will take approximately a year to construct. Financing for the project will come from MaineHousing and a number of other sources. Coastal Enterprises will post a $600,000 financial commitment to the project.
Residents who meet eligibility standards will pay rents of $430 to $575 per month, including all utilities.
The 28 units will be rented to seniors who are in one- and two-person households.
Pelletier said the housing committee recently met with Egan to “discuss possible scenarios and arrangements to consider for any type of affordable housing project.”
Although the project is not definitely scheduled, it is on the town’s radar, Pelletier said Tuesday.
“We are just in an exploratory phase right now,” he noted.