Ex-Dot crime spot now affordable housing site

Christopher S. Pineo | 8/17/2009, 11:07 a.m.
The “south” phase of the Dudley Village Homes project, which city officials opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony...

The city and state funds came in the form of grants, which O’Brien later confirmed function as loans to be paid back over time.

The money lent by the city will be paid back throughout the course of 15 years, as long as the property remains affordable housing, explained DND Director Evelyn Friedman. If the DBEDC increases the prices of the units to market-rate, the repayment costs on the loan will increase, she said.

According to O’Brien, there is no federal stimulus money involved in the project, because it began before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed.

So, what makes the housing affordable? The prices of the units are custom tailored to the Dudley area. By pricing the units based on the area median income (AMI) — the middle point of the earnings of neighborhood residents — the DBEDC can make the houses available to residents based closely on what prospective occupants can actually afford. Data from the 2000 Census placed the median household income for the census tract surrounding the Dudley Village development at $27,153.

According to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, 43 of the Dudley Village units will be available at a price no higher than 60 percent of the median income level. Five will be priced below 30 percent of AMI, and two below 50 percent. The actual costs of the units was not yet available.

The development also features green building technology. Photovoltaic and solar panels located on the roof of the Dudley Village North structure convert the sun’s rays into energy that powers all of the village’s common areas. This design touch earned the development both Energy Star Standard certification and Silver Standard certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Green Building Rating System.

Behind the units, a playground built by KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization focused on the construction of community playgrounds, sits atop a parcel of green space protected from traffic.

District 7 City Council candidate Carlos Henriquez said developments like Dudley Village and the nearby Kroc Community Center, a $115 million project that broke ground last month, will provide local youths with activities that will help develop community spirit and prevent crime resurgence in the area.

“Really and truly, this neighborhood needed this kind of shot in the arm,” said former health inspector Lynch. “This could be a great one-two punch to get the criminal element out of that area.”