WILLIAMSTOWN -- Property owned by Williams College is the latest site to be considered by Higher Ground for disaster replacement housing.
Selectman Ronald Turbin, a member of Higher Ground, said the college is willing to consider working out something with property if Higher Ground can present a feasible plan for housing on the site.
"We’ve been talking to the college, and this may be a possibility," he said Tuesday night.
The approximately nine-acre parcel being considered is located behind Proprietor’s Field on Church St., abutting Stetson Road.
James Koleser, assistant to the president for public affairs at Williams, said Wednesday that Proprietor’s Field is on land that Williams owned at one time.
"The college is happy to be working again with local organizations on the possibility of developing disaster-relief or other affordable housing next door," he said.
While it’s too early to know if building disaster replacement housing or affordable housing on the property will be feasible, "it’s certainly possible that some college land in that neighborhood ends up being put to this important use," he said.
The disaster replacement housing would be exclusively for residents of The Spruces Mobile Home Park who lost their homes to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28, 2011.
Robin Lenz, coordinator for Higher Ground, said in a July 26 Transcript article that based
In order to present a feasible plan to the college, Higher Ground would need to do a site plan of the property, which was discussed Tuesday night during a joint meeting of Higher Ground and the Affordable Housing Committee.
"We need to find out first if there is buildable land," Susan Puddester, case management supervisor for Higher Ground, said.
Higher Ground has received a $20,000 predevelopment grant from the Rural Local Initiative Support Corp. to put toward securing technical services such as hiring a consultant to help narrow the choices of sites for disaster replacement housing.
Board members discussed how far those funds would go, as they’re also interested in other properties, and if they wanted to put the grant first toward hiring an engineer to evaluate the property behind Proprietor’s Field.
"You’re looking for an engineer who understands topography, zoning and wetlands. Those are the issues on the site that are fairly apparent," Town Manager Peter Fohlin said.
Pending Rural LISC sending Higher Ground a list of services it can use the grant toward, the board refrained from making a decision about how to spend the $20,000.
To reach Meghan Foley, email email@example.com.