ROCKPORT — Pigeon Cove Ledges, a Rockport affordable housing community, is being targeted by its nonprofit owner for an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 renovation project aimed at helping the complex's elderly residents.
The renovations, to be celebrated by Congressman John Tierney and other officials at Pigeon Cove in ceremonies today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include an elevator installation for the two-floor, 30-unit complex as well as projects that improve safety and access for older residents, such as a wheelchair-accessible rear patio door and a new sprinkler system.
There will also be more cosmetic changes, such as repairs to the siding and trim and new paint on the exterior of the building, according to Andrew DeFranza, executive director of Harborlight Community Partners, the Beverly-based nonprofit that has managed the complex since last winter.
"We wanted to make the building as current and safe as possible, which is always important, but especially important when you have an elderly population in the building," DeFranza said.
Renovation plans hatched shortly after Harborlight took ownership of the property in December, preventing what had been affordable housing for 30 years from reverting back to market-rate housing as the terms of the buildings' 1980s lease had permitted.
"We told the residents that we were working on this transaction and were hoping to be putting in an elevator, and they broke into applause," DeFranza said.
Residents will be able to continue living in their apartments throughout the construction, which is set to finish in September, DeFranza said. He said the elevator will be built on the outside of the building, then workers will shape the building around it; sprinkler systems will be piped into the units one by -one.
Funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Rural Development, the town of Rockport's Community Preservation Fund, Rockport Housing Partnership, Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, and North Shore United Way have all come together to make the project possible, DeFranza said.
Harborlight also applied for and received about $225,000 of additional funding from North Shore HOME Consortium, according to its director, Kevin Hurley.
"Harborlight has a good reputation. They're doing a variety of things large and small, and they've demonstrated their devotion to the community around them," Hurley said.
DeFranza said Harborlight is grateful to all of the financial backers, and also to the state and federal officials and departments that helped push the project along.
The federal departments and state and federal officials also all helped grant Harborlight permission to take over the property in December. That's why Tierney, state Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and a representative from U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's office will be part of today's event, DeFranza said.
"They're all there to take a bow that they well deserve," he said.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or email@example.com.