21 Feb

Thanks To Our 2019 CITC Donors

We thank those businesses, foundations and individuals who supported NewVue Communities in 2019 through the Community Investment Tax Incentive Program

Anonymous
Athol Savings Bank
Berkshire Bank
Blue Hub Capital
William Brassard
Kate Casa
Crocker Foundation
Davis Square Architects, Inc.
DeVellis Zrein, Inc.
Robert Dorfman
Enterprise Bank
Fidelity Bank
Matthew and Kellie Fournier
Samuel Godin
Greater Worcester Community Foundation
Hackett Feinburg, P.C.
Mathew Hutt
Hutter Construction
ICON Architecture, Inc
Klein Hornig, LLP
Leominster Credit Union
Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation
Erin and Heidi Nano
Michael R. Martin
Quality Contracting Inc.
Resolution Architects LLC
Rollstone Charitable Foundation
Resource Management Inc.
Rocheford Family Trust
Robert Ruxin and Peggy Shukur
Santander Bank Foundation
Ann Silverman
United Way of Mass Bay
Andrew and Elizabeth Van Hazinga
WaypointKLA
Wingate Management Company, LLC

If you would like to support NewVue Communities or learn more about
the benefits of the Community Investment Tax Credit program and join
our CITC Team, learn more. Or, contact Kerry Flathers, Director of
Development and Communications at kflathers@nvcomm.org.

11 Feb

NewVue Art Stewards Selected for Arts-Focused National Fellowship

In November 2019, NewVue Communities submitted a 2020 Community Revitalization Fellowship application offered through the Center for Community Progress in Washington, DC. NewVue’s Program Officer Meredith Geraghty, and Community Organizer, Francisco Ramos prepared the application with full confidence that the Fitchburg Community Art Stewards can make a national difference using the arts to transform abandoned and distressed properties.

Today, February 11, 2020, NewVue Communities proudly shares the Center for Community Progress press release announcing that six Fitchburg Art Stewards have been selected to participate in the national training program. Congratulations to our Art Stewards.

Center for Community Progress Press Release

22 Jan

Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home?

Are You Dreaming of Owning Your Own Home? That’s the big question asked in the promotional material for NewVue Communities’ Homebuyer Education class. Madeline Mendoza, Housing Services Manager and the instructor for the classes convinced participants on Wednesday, January 21, that big dreams need planning and it is never too early to start.

Seventeen individuals representing 13 families jump started their new year with a commitment to learn more about buying a home. Attendees traveled from Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Littleton, Westminster and Worcester to participate in the first of three evening classes. Madeline engaged the group in a variety of discussions including one’s readiness to buy a home, budget and savings plans, credit and debt management, and the application and approval process for a home purchase loan.

Let’s face it, sometimes, it’s all about the snacks, and in this class the snacks are plentiful. Madeline understands that most participants who arrive for the three-hour class have likely already put in a full day. “In addition to making sure participants benefit from a carefully designed workshop, I want them to be comfortable. I want them to look forward to the next session. We hear a lot of laughter during the class and that makes everyone’s time enjoyable,” said Madeline.

“It doesn’t matter where you are in your journey to purchase a home. The Homeowner Education classes will help you build buyer confidence, develop a workable plan, and hear about the experience of others in the group,” stated Madeline.

This class is being held in the community room of the Watermill Apartments on Water Street in Leominster. Classes are often held at the NewVue training room at 470 Main St. in Fitchburg.

Dreaming of owning your own home? Check out Future Homebuyer Classes at newvuecommunities.org or call 888-978-6261.

9 Jan

Bay Colony supports NewVue Communities Small Business Technical Assistance Program

FITCHBURG—The ideaLab in the Fitchburg State University Theater Block continues to partner with local and regional agencies in support of small business development in the city.

Bay Colony Development Corp. President and CEO Mary Mansfield recently presented a check for $10,000 to NewVue Communities Executive Director Marc Dohan to support NewVue’s Small Business Technical Assistance Program. 

Fitchburg State is redeveloping the Theater Block at 717 Main St., with the ideaLab on the second floor hosting a variety of business development initiatives in partnership with NewVue Communities. Small businesses interested in securing financing and technical assistance are encouraged to contact NewVue at 978-342-9561 or to visit their website at nvcomm.org.

The program focuses mainly on micro-enterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees) and very small businesses (businesses with 20 and fewer employees) and in addition to Bay Colony Development Corp. is supported by the City of Fitchburg CDBG Program, Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, United States Department of Agriculture, City of Gardner CDBG Program, corporate grants and private donations.                           

Bay Colony Development Corp. is a Certified Development Company designated by the U.S. Small Business Administration to market, process, and close SBA 504 loans in the states of Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and certain counties in Connecticut.  The SBA 504 program provides up to 90 percent financing for commercial and mixed-use real estate purchases, new construction, equipment acquisitions, debt refinance and leasehold improvements. 

22 Aug

Grant gives NewVue new life for turning former Leominster school into housing

Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

By Peter Jasinski

pjasinski@sentinelandenterprise.com

LEOMINSTER — With a new state grant promised, NewVue Communities hopes to be able to move forward soon with its long-planned conversion of the former Carter Junior High School on West Street into affordable-housing units.

“It’s very exciting and we’re very fortunate to get this,” NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan said. “We’ll be taking a school that’s no longer in use, that a lot of people have memories tied to, and putting it back into use. This is a critical day for us to get this funding.”

Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced Tuesday that $72 million in grants had been awarded to projects throughout the state to rehabilitate and preserve nearly 2,000 housing units. The plan to create 39 units of housing in Leominster is among those listed, though no mention was made of how much money NewVue communities was awarded.

Dohan said Wednesday that he hasn’t yet been told the exact amount of money, but he’s confident it’s enough to cover the rest of the costs for the project.

He estimated that between $10 million and $11 million will come from the state.

He said the total cost of the project is about $16 million, and that NewVue has already raised between $5 million and $6 million already.

“We have some that we’re borrowing and some from other grants as well,” Dohan said.

The project has been in development for about five years, and NewVue communities has been waiting more than a year to have enough funding before being able to begin construction.

Plans for the renovation have already been completed and approved by all pertinent city departments.Once completed, the former Carter School will feature 39 affordable family housing units, 16 of which will be designated for households earning less than 30 percent the area median income. The building’s remaining units are expected to house only tenants with annual incomes between $25,000 and $50,000.

Empty since the mid-1990s, the school has experienced significant deterioration of its interior, including fire damage, a breached roof and a collapsed stairwell.

The renovation is expected to take about a year, but Dohan was unable to say when a start date might be scheduled.

“We’re trying to go over everything as quickly as we can, but we don’t have a date at this time,” he said.

Dohan said NewVue will continue to seek additional money as it considers possible upgrades to the current plan.

When reached for comment Wednesday, Ward 5 City Councilor Richard Marchand, who represents the neighborhood in which the housing units are being built, said he’s happy to hear the project is moving forward.

“The Carter building has been a contentious item in this city for decades, and I’m glad to see this proposal come to fruition,” Marchand said. “The concerns of the neighborhood have always been on the table, and I think we’re all pleased with this.”

Marchand added that he hopes rehabilitation of the property will also help alleviate current traffic problems at Hall and West streets, located at the corner of the Carter School property.

15 May

Fitchburg given a facelift

Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

By Elizabeth Dobbins

edobbins@sentinelandenterprise.com

FITCHBURG — Buildings were painted, facades were replaced and gardens were prepped during the community clean-up led by Crossroads Church, NewVue Communities, ReImagine North of Main and the city Saturday.

“We want to be a force in the community for good,” said Adrian Gates, media director for Crossroads Church on 839 Ashby State Road.

Gates said the outreach event has been put on annually since 2011 and drew about 300 volunteers to 25 projects around the city.

Among them was the replacement the decaying wood on the outside of the empty building on the corner of Main and Oliver Street.

“It was just all nasty looking,” volunteer and Gardner resident Glenn Wallace said. “Rotten,” Westminster resident Kevin Fuller said, pointing to a pile of wood that they had pulled off the building.

By early afternoon, the new siding was almost completely replaced.

Across the street, several volunteers were painting the formerly beige outside of Gallery Sitka (West) red and blue.

“Artists don’t typically like the color beige,” Tricia Pistone said, laughing.

Pistone, project director for ReImagine North of Main, said the organizations involved in the clean-up and residents collaborated to come up with project ideas such as clearing the brush in Lowe Park, painting the gazebo in the Upper Common and planting flowers around the police station.

Gates said the renovation of the library at Reingold Elementary School is the largest of the many projects that were in progress Saturday.

“It’s something special when you get to do it for the kids,” he said.

Pistone said this is not the first time the church has lent a hand to give downtown a facelift. In 2015, among other projects, Crossroads Community Church and partners removed the rust stains from the building where The Local Spot is currently located.

“We really want to do things that can transform an area,” Gates said.

5 May

NewVue Annual Meeting Held May 4

This past fiscal year was another productive year for NewVue Communities.

We would like to thank all those who came out to celebrate.

NewVue elected two new board members, Philip Duffy and Christina DiRusso.
NewVue recognized ReImagine North of Main with the 2017 Community Partnership Award.
Marta Albizu was recognized with the 2017 Luz Sanchez Resident Leadership Award.
Thank you to Rick Healey of Foster-Healey Real Estate for the comprehensive presentation of the housing marketing, nationally and in North Central Massachusetts.

We are pleased to share our annual report with you. Click Here.

28 Mar

NewVue Communities Hosts ‘Donuts with Delegates’

Donuts with Delegates was a forum that allowed staff and residents to talk with our state representative and senators about initiatives that will affect our communities and work.
This year, we had the meeting at NewVue Communities with Representative Stephen Hay and Senator Jennifer Flanagan.

20 Feb

Grant helps homeowners get the lead out

Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

By Joe Atmonavage

jatmonavage@sentinelandenterprise.com

FITCHBURG — When Brian Taylor purchased a Summer Street property in April, hoping to provide quality low-income housing for families while turning a profit, he was going through his checklist of refurbishing the more than 100-year-old, three-unit property when he realized lead was going to have be removed.

While looking to hire a contractor to do the work, he was alerted that the city had money available to help investors and homeowners delead their properties.

SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN

Taylor, owner of 347 Summer St. in Fitchburg, speaks about the Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control program.

 In July, the Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control program, which serves Fitchburg, Gardner, Clinton and Athol, received $3.2 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to pay for the inspection and deleading of 150 qualified homes at up to $10,000 each over the course of three years.

Seventy-five percent of Fitchburg homes built before 1978 screened positive for lead, and the screening rate for the city in 2015 was 58 percent, making Fitchburg one of the communities on the state’s “high-risk list for childhood lead poisoning,” said Jenna David, environmental programs director for Montachusett Opportunity Council, a partner in the deleading program.

Since 1978, state law requires any home with children 6 or younger to be inspected and made “ lead safe” by professionals because those children are “ especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

“This work would have been done, regardless of the program, but given that the program was available to me, it was extremely beneficial to me because it is saving me quite a bit of money,” Taylor said. “The other aspect is it really integrates you with the town and helps you understand the priorities of what the city of Fitchburg is about, which is providing healthy low income housing.”

Building owners in Fitchburg who apply for the program must have tenants who live in two bedroom apartments or larger and have a median income below $52,550.

For single-family homeowners, they must have a child under age 6 living in the home or visiting at least six hours a week. The household must have an income below $65,700.

Taylor, a Concord resident and a father of three, said safety of his residents is his No. 1 priority as landlord, and programs like these make it easy to protect families from dangerous conditions.

“If we are going to rent this out to anyone, we want healthy, safe spaces for people, and part of that is making sure there is no lead that is going to create a danger or pose a threat to a child,” Taylor said.

And while Taylor said the process, from applying for the money to meeting with a contractor the city brought in to do the work to the actually deleading of the property, was “seamless,” few others in Fitchburg have taken advantage of the available money.

In Fitchburg, only nine properties have completed the deleading process, said Shannon Erb, the coordinator for NewVue Communities, another partner in the program. There are 15 active cases in the city, she said.

“It has been a little slow going,” said Liz Murphy, Fitchburg’s director of housing and development. “We are not sure why folks aren’t applying. We have gotten quite a few applications, but not as many cases.”

When the city received the money in July, Murphy said the challenge of the program was going to be making sure they reach those residents who can, and should, apply. To do that, the program partners are increasing their outreach. Erb said NewVue, which handles the application process, has been doing direct mailing and holding meetings with various organizations about the program.

“We are hoping as the spring comes in, we increase the number of people who do the program,” said Madeline Mendoza, NewVue Communities’ homeownership program manager. “Overall, it has been positive,” said Mendoza. Homeowners “are grateful for the advantage of this program. They have been grateful and happy with it.”

Taylor is one of those residents — he stumbled upon the program — and he encourages anyone who has concerns about lead levels in their home to apply for the program.

“I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to buy some investor property in Fitchburg or if you are a homeowner in Fitchburg, you should definitely think about it,” he said. “It is a win-win. It is a win for the city. It is a win for the people who live in the building,” Taylor added. “I can’t be more enthusiastic about the program.”

Brian Taylor, owner of 347 Summer St. in Fitchburg, talks about taking advantage of a grant to help remove lead from homes in the city.

SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / ASHLEY GREEN