Norwich Public Utilities makes $500,000 tax credit contribution to housing group
Norwich — Norwich Public Utilities renewed its long-standing relationship with a regional affordable-housing group Tuesday, announcing a $500,000 state tax credit investment to renovate 32 apartments in Taftville and on the West Side.
The donation to Eastern Connecticut Housing Opportunities is being used to renovate the 17-unit complex at 91 S. Second Ave. in Taftville and 15 units in nine single-family and duplex houses from 23 to 79 Mechanic St. and at 104 Mt. Pleasant St., just off West Main Street.
Standing in the recently renovated living room of a town house apartment at 91 Second Ave. on Tuesday, NPU Division Manager Steve Sinko, who grew up nearby in Taftville, said NPU’s relationship with ECHO goes back to 2004. In total, the utility has provided $4.5 million in tax credit funding to renovate 199 ECHO units in Norwich.
“NPU is committed to making Norwich a great place to live, work and do business,” Sinko said at Tuesday’s news conference announcement.
ECHO Executive Director Peter Battles said the money will be used to do extensive interior renovations, including new cabinets, countertops, sinks, appliances, bathroom fixtures, flooring, carpeting and painting, at 91 S. Second Ave., starting with the five units now vacant. ECHO has owned the building since 1989, Battles said, and “it’s gotten a lot of heavy use.”
On Mechanic and Mt. Pleasant streets, exterior renovations, including porches and railing replacements and new siding, can be done with the buildings occupied.
Battles said all of ECHO’s rental units are in Norwich. The agency also purchases rundown homes and renovates them for sale to first-time home buyers throughout the region. The agency also does housing consulting work for other nonprofit housing entities, including the Stonington and Groton housing authorities, Battles said.
The renovations are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The NPU funding came from the Connecticut Housing Tax Credit Contribution Program, which allows contributions to eligible nonprofit agencies in lieu of paying a portion of the state gross revenue tax, NPU spokesman Chris Riley said.
In 2017, NPU owed $2.3 million in gross revenue taxes, which are assessed on the purchase of natural gas and electricity.