A ribbon cutting and tour of the new Owego Gardens apartments was held on May 3. Upwards of 60 people attended the event including residents, individuals involved with the development, planning, construction and management of the project, and local and state government officials.
Owego Gardens, an apartment complex for mixed-income senior’s ages 55 and older is part of the Tioga County Industrial Development Agency’s comprehensive redevelopment plan and was supported through the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR).
Governor Cuomo stated, via a Press Release, “This project has provided critical housing that Owego residents deserve,” and added, “All New Yorkers deserve a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.”
According to the press release, construction of the $12.5 million development was financed via $6.3 million from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), equity generated by Federal and State Low Income Housing Tax Credits, $4.3 million in Federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds and developer equity. The Letter of Credit was provided by M&T Bank and RBC Markets syndicated the tax credit.
Located at 130A Southside Dr. in Owego, the apartment complex includes 50 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. A majority of the apartments are designated for low-income residents, while seven are for middle-income tenants and another seven will be rented at market rate. One unit is occupied by a site manager.
According to Nelson Leenhouts, Home Leasing chairman and CEO, and a guest speaker at the ribbon cutting ceremony, a total of 49 residents are now living at Owego Gardens, which includes seven residents who were affected by flooding from Tropical Storm Lee. Leenhouts shared that the first residents moved in on Jan. 1.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with the Owego community,” Leenhouts said, adding that by June 1 all apartments will be occupied. Leenhouts also commented that there are 145 people on a waiting list.
Additional speakers included Darren Scott, upstate east director of development with NYS HCR; Yonette Chung McLean, director of RBC Capital Markets; Stephanie Benson, COO and Partner of Edgemere Development; LeeAnn Tinney, director of Tioga County Economic Development and Planning; and Tom Hyland, representing Congressman Tom Reed’s office.
Tinney thanked several individuals involved with the project, and shared, “We’ve certainly come a long way since March of 2014 when we started this journey,” adding, “And thanks to Nelson Leenhouts for sharing our vision and commitment. When everyone else said you can’t do it, Nelson instead said, ‘When can we start?’”
For life-long Owego resident Mark Hall, Owego Gardens was a perfect option. Hall shared his own personal journey with guests, “In 2006 we were flooded and rebuilt. In 2011 we were flooded and rebuilt, but our house couldn’t be raised where it sat,” adding, “My wife and I are happy to have this place to live.”
For Mike Kurtz, son of resident Betsie Kurtz, Owego Gardens is a good option for his widowed mother who is still able to live on her own, and where he feels reassured that she has a comfortable place to live.
Following the ceremony, guests were escorted through Owego Gardens to tour selected apartments. Jim and Margaret Dwyer, who relocated three years ago to Owego from Cape Vincent, N.Y. to be closer to family, welcomed guests to see their new home.
“We love it here, and it’s just the right size for the two of us,” Margaret shared, and explained that with their apartment size, they were able to bring in their own washer and dryer and an extra bedroom comes in handy to use for alternate space.
Owego Gardens is ADA-compliant and pet-friendly. Featured amenities include patios or balconies, laundry facilities, central air, in-unit storage, raised garden beds and a fitness center, just to name a few. An Owego Gardens II is in discussions.
A nod to the rich history of Owego, it is fitting that the proposed street name at Owego Gardens is “Belva Lockwood Lane,” in recognition of Lockwood, who came to Owego in 1863 as the principal at the Owego Seminary, and later achieved a law degree. Most notably, Lockwood was the first woman to practice before the Supreme Court.
For additional information about Owego Gardens, visit www.homeleasing.net. Individuals interested in applying for an apartment can call the Leasing Office at (607) 223-4014.