On Feb. 29, local officials cut a symbolic ribbon to officially open a sleek, renovated, and solar-powered Community Building at Boston Terrace, a Guilford Housing Authority (GHA) property.
Completed with a tax credit grant and Small Cities grant, the new building is hoped to herald the beginning of more green improvements at the 40-unit housing facility for the elderly and handicapped, built in 1984. With a hoped-for state grant through the Department of Economic and Community Development, Boston Terrace will add an extra nine units to the site, all with green energy amenities. To see a plan for incorporating the nine-unit design, visit this story at www.zip06.com/guilford .
At the Community House ribbon cutting ceremony, GHA Chair Richard Evans explained, "During the early stages of planning those units, we also planned for the renovation of this building."
The renovated Community Room has been upgraded to include a 400-square-foot addition to create more community space and office space, a new ADA-compliant handicapped accessible bathroom and laundry room, increased insulation values, all new windows, new alarm system, new heat pump system, and lighting. Many of the new installations were done with an eye toward addressing reduced energy consumption, said project architect Chris Widmer, of Green Planet Options, LLC, of Guilford.
The crowning achievement is the building's large rooftop array of southerly-facing solar panels, purchased with help from a Neighborhood Program Assistance Act application approved by the Board of Selectmen (BOS), which allowed Guilford Savings Bank (GSB) to donate $55,000 to the project and receive a corporate tax credit.
"It's a 10,000-plus watt system that will generate 11,195 watts per year annually. That yields about $2,250 annually in savings for the Housing Authority [and] in coupling that with some of the energy improvements, it's probably more on the order of about $2,500 in savings annually," said Widmer. "That's a good investment and an exciting thing."
GSB President Margaret Livingston said the bank always tries to support some tax credit programs annually and was pleased to support a worthy project in this community.
"It's nice to do something locally," said Livingston.
The GHA also recognized the BOS for allowing the project to be completed by allocating to it a $300,000 federal Small Cities grant received by the Town of Guilford.
"This is a great building," said First Selectman Joe Mazza. "It will be a great service to the residents [and] the town was very happy to assist in the Small Cities grant and also with the administration the state requires to keep the money flowing."
Mazza also complimented GHA on its hard work. Evans said the GHA was delighted not only with the results of the project, but with the support it received from many sectors, including the contributions of the BOS, GSB, State Senator Ed Meyer, State Representative Pat Widlitz, and GHA staff.
"This is a great effort with state and local government and with a local community bank," said Evans.