The 36 apartments of the first phase of Brook Hill Village began renting in early summer, and the nine one-bedroom units went fast. On September 13, proprietors Dakota Partners, the Waltham, Mass., organization experienced in such projects, held an official Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting ceremony there on Emily Way (named for the daughter of one of the partners). About 50 people attended, most of them deeply involved in the accomplishment.
First Selectman Melissa Mack welcomed everyone to town and thanked all those who brought this phase to completion. Other speakers ranged from Commissioner Evonne Klein of the Connecticut Department of Housing, who approved the state grants involved, to Robin Gallagher of Webster Bank’s Public Finance Corporation, among the major funders. All spoke of the importance of such projects in helping the young people of Connecticut find an affordable way to remain in our beautiful state.
Brook Hill Village was described as Suffield’s first totally “affordable” housing development. Affordability is a complicated matter, available to home purchasers as well as tenants. Among other factors, affordability depends on an applicant’s income related to the median income of, in this case, the Greater Hartford Metropolitan Region. The number of members in the household is also considered. The application process is tedious, but Brook Hill Village was filling up.
Several new residents of Brook Hill were present at the celebration, and this reporter was able to meet them. One couple moved here from a similar facility in southern Connecticut, where the wife had been a National Park ranger but had taken a new job at the MGM Springfield casino. They have a daughter in Suffield High and another at UConn. A second couple, now retired, moved here because their daughter is a Suffield schoolteacher. They had lived in Suffield once before, and the husband had worked in a Suffield business. He had also been a house builder. Another resident, a single mother has an almost-four-year-old child who attends the pre-school where she works.
Robin Gallagher, of Webster Bank, closed her comments, saying, “We should all feel incredibly proud of what we have accomplished here, knowing that the beneficiaries, the residents, have a beautiful, safe place to call home.”
By the end of October there were only a few two-bedroom units still unrented in the first three buildings ($1,150 a month, 1,056 sq. ft.). The project’s second phase, with four similar three-story buildings, 12 apartments each, is now under construction on the other side of Emily Way, bringing the total to 84 units. The second phase is scheduled to open next year.
Brook Hill Village is accessed by Karina Drive on the river side of East Street, South, a bit south of the end of Boston Neck Road. (Karina is another Dakota partner’s daughter.)