Q: When are you demolishing the Mills Apartments?
A: An application for demolition for two of the low-rise buildings have been submitted to HUD. The team is working on an application for funding for demolition of the remainder of the buildings.
Q: Is this plan only for Mills residents?
A: No, it’s for everyone who has a vested interest in the future of Downtown Meriden.
Q: What are you doing for non-Mills residents and business owners living and working within the boundary of the neighborhood?
A: Depends on your input! We need your input to develop a comprehensive neighborhood transformation plan that will benefit everyone who lives and works downtown.
Q: Why was the boundary of the neighborhood drawn that way?
A: The boundary of the Choice Neighborhood is the same as the boundary of the Promise Neighborhood. It is focused on the most impacted census tracts in Meriden.
Q: I’m a Mills resident. When can I get my Section 8 voucher?
A: The MHA does not currently have the vouchers to give out. Residents living in buildings 32-34 Mill Street and 40-42 Mill Street will be Section 8 vouchers only when HUD approves their application to dispose of and demolish those two buildings. Residents of all other Mills buildings will not be getting Section 8 vouchers for the foreseeable future, as much work needs to be done before an application can be made to HUD to dispose of and demolish any other structures.
Q: How long will Mills residents have to move once the building they live in is approved for demolition?
A: This will be determined by the Relocation Plan, which is still under development, but residents will have at least 30 days from the date they are first notified they have to move.
Q: I’m a Mills resident. Do I get to come back to new housing in the downtown?
A: Yes. All MHA Mills residents who are lease compliant will have rights to move back to new housing downtown when they are developed.
Q: Who will oversee the Relocation of Mills residents?
A: The MHA will hire HUD certified Relocation Specialists to oversee any relocation activities and assist residents in getting all of the assistance they are entitled to. The Relocation Specialists are well versed in assisting public housing residents in successfully moving into a new home in accordance with an approved Relocation Plan.
Q: Will the demolition of the Mills Memorial Apartments result in a corresponding decrease of low income housing in the City of Meriden?
A: No, the State of Connecticut requires that any low income housing demolished be replaced on a “one-to-one” basis. There are 140 apartments at the Mills, at least 140 affordable units must be built to replace them if they are disposed of. They may not be public housing units, but they will be affordable.
Q: Will I have to move if I don’t live at the Mills Memorial Apartments?
A: While the Choice Neighborhoods Grant relates to the entire “Choice Neighborhoods Zone,” only the units at the Mills will be subject to moving to make way for the progress of redevelopment.
Q: Will Meriden residents have a say is what gets built in our new Downtown?
A: Yes! 380 people filled out a comprehensive survey that dealt with many subjects around the Choice Neighborhoods principals of “Housing, People and Neighborhood.” The housing section asked residents what kinds of housing they would like to see replace the Mills. There will be a community wide event at Lincoln Middle School (164 centennial Avenue in Meriden) on December 9, 2014 from 5 to 8:30PM that will encourage all residents to “Imagine Our New Downtown” in a new and exciting manner. Design charrettes and public meetings will be held to allow Meridenites input on potential designs.
Q: Will new construction be energy efficient?
A: Yes. Meriden Housing Authority has been extremely progressive in incorporating ‘Green’ technologies into renovation and rehabilitation projects. This is evidenced by the Gold Leed certification awarded to their completed Chamberlain Heights rehabilitation. Renovations at the MHA’s Yale Acres development has made extensive use of clean, renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaics (PV), solar hot water and geo-thermal systems that harness energy from the ground. The MHA is eager to bring this experience to bear in creating replacement housing for the Mills.
Q: Will Mills residents have a seat at the table in deciding what kind of housing will replace their units?
A: Yes! This is of utmost importance to the MHA, and they have taken many steps to ensure that residents are aware of the potential for rehabilitation and that they have the maximum ability to take part in planning activities. Meetings have been held on evenings and weekends. A comprehensive survey was completed by 108 of the 140 households asking residents the kinds of housing they would like to see replace the Mills. Choice Neighborhoods activities have a permanent spot on the agenda of monthly meetings held by and for Mills residents. This and many more activities and opportunities for involvement will be afforded to Mills residents in accordance with Federal and State laws.
Q: I don’t live downtown, what does Choice Neighborhoods mean to me?
A: All residents of Meriden will enjoy an increased quality of life through the renovation and recreation of the downtown area! Imagine increased access to affordable public transportation, more shops and restaurants to patronize in a beautiful walkable setting, remapped streets to make it easier to get around and better entertainment options. This is an exciting time for Meriden, and you have a chance to help direct the future of the city you call home!
Q: What experience do the partners working on the Choice Neighborhoods Grant have?
A: All of the partners have extensive experience working to revitalize urban areas. You can view a list of them and learn much more about the grant on its dedicated website, www.meridenchoice.com.