By Jean Shanley
July 16, 2016
CONNEAUT LAKE — Construction of Evans Square, a senior housing complex at Conneaut Lake, is scheduled to begin in spring 2017 now that a tax credit was received.
Announcement of the start of construction was made Friday by the Hudson Companies of Hermitage after it received word Thursday it has been awarded more than $1 million in tax credits by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency. The Hudson Companies was among 39 of 111 applicants across the commonwealth to receive funding awards.
Bill Eldridge, a member of Conneaut Lake Borough Council and chairman of the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee, was thrilled over the news. Eldridge, who has been working very closely with Hudson on this project, said, “It is so exciting to see it happen.” He said borough council and Crawford County commissioners have been very supportive of the project and said it was good to see the group effort succeed.
Affordable senior housing “is absolutely needed in both Conneaut Lake and other parts of Crawford County and the news that Conneaut Lake will get the housing is wonderful,” Eldridge said.
Eldridge believes the fact that other revitalization projects at Conneaut Lake are being planned was a contributing factor in the approval of the funding.
Evans Square is a more than $10 million project. The three-story housing complex will be located at the southeast corner of North Fifth and Line streets in the borough. It will be 38,950 square feet with 40 units — 36 with one bedroom and four with two bedrooms — for senior citizens on property owned by Alan Moss.
Kelley Coey, project manager with Hudson Companies, said the sale has not been completed but is under contract. She said completion of the project is expected by the end of 2017. No applications for occupancy are being accepted yet, she said.
Hudson officials did not make the cut for funding last year. They realized the competitiveness of the process and re-evaluated their application to submit one again this year. Officials said they recognized the project had to be more than just mortar and siding to Evans Square. That spurred the inaugural Evans Square Innovation Center that offers a health and wellness curricula joint venture with Thiel College, Allegheny College and Primary Health Network.
The proposal will offer educational enrichment programs by Thiel College where residents can virtually audit course work. Allegheny College students will have the opportunity to provide volunteer services through the Allegheny Gateway Civic Engagement Program. Primary Health Network has committed health coaches to serve as health ambassadors for the active senior lifestyle.
Evans Square has been positioned to nurture the ever-changing senior lifestyle and address the demand for affordable senior housing in the Conneaut Lake area, officials said.
The complex will feature a community room, a wrap-around porch with an exterior fireplace and independent apartments. It will include a design focus of environmentally friendly features, which is a cornerstone feature of Hudson developments — including everything from a rainwater harvesting system to energy efficient controls that influence the ever-enhancing green technology, according to the Hudson officials.
Evans Square’s name derived from the founder of Conneaut Lake, Abner Evans.
Evans Square will be located within the borough’s revitalization project area and will offer resident pedestrian-friendly access to all of the borough’s amenities, Coey said. The post office, grocery store and other businesses are all within a few blocks of the site.
Community leaders have recognized the need for affordable senior housing in the Conneaut Lake region, including Republican Sen. Michele Brooks.
“It was such a privilege to assist with this project as I have such admiration for our seniors,” said Brooks, whose district includes all of Crawford County. “From raising us, to serving our country and building our neighborhoods, they have diligently laid the foundation for future generations’ success. I strongly believe it is so important that our seniors are able to remain close to their families and continue to live in their communities.”
Republican state Rep. Parke Wentling, whose 17th District includes a western part of Crawford County, was also excited about the news of the funding.
“This is good news for Conneaut Lake,” Wentling said. “These tax credits will go a long way in helping to create new affordable housing options for senior citizens. I especially want to thank Conneaut Lake Borough officials for their hard work in securing funding for this project. It’s truly been a team effort to move the process forward.”