Twin Pines opens new apartments

By NORA DOYLE-BURR

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 10-30-2020 11:20 PM

HANOVER — Nick Heyl gives his new digs, a studio apartment on the third floor of the new Summer Park Residences situated between Park, Summer and Lebanon streets, “a rave review.”

“I’m close to everything and it’s just absolutely quiet here,” Heyl said in a phone interview Friday.

Heyl, a 73-year-old retired attorney and singer/songwriter, spoke little more than a week after moving into the $5.8 million building, which sits near the Hanover location of the Co-op Food Stores, Hanover High School and the Richard W. Black Community Center.

The single building containing 24 units of affordable housing in one of the Upper Valley’s most expensive real estate markets replaces three eight-unit, two-story buildings built in the 1970s. The new energy-efficient building’s features, including an elevator, wider doorways, grab bars, roll-in showers and open floor plans, make it more accessible for tenants with disabilities.

The old buildings, which are slated to be demolished soon to make way for another 18 units of affordable housing, have second floors that are accessible only via stairs.

The old buildings were owned by the town of Hanover before voters in 2018 approved a transfer to the White River Junction-based Twin Pines Housing.

The nonprofit housing developer and the project’s funders celebrated the building’s opening with an event at the Black center that was webcast on Friday morning.

“Projects like this are always challenging,” Twin Pines Executive Director Andrew Winter said during the event.

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Some of the complexity of the project came in sorting out financing from various sources, including Evernorth, previously known as the Northern New England Housing Investment Fund, which put in $4.5 million through a low-income housing tax credit program.

Additional funding included a $500,000 grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston and an $840,000 permanent loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston through Ledyard National Bank.

Ledyard also provided a $3.62 million construction loan.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation also provided pre-development funding through its Impact Investing Program.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments for all 24 units, which means residents pay 30% of their income in rent.

“It’s pennies compared to what this location would be if it weren’t affordable housing,” Heyl said.

Some complications have come up during the moving process.

While Heyl has settled in comfortably, some Summer Park residents have not. They are concerned about the new building’s safety, including delays in setting up phone and internet connections, unfinished porches and a lack of outdoor lighting, as well as dust and fumes remaining from construction and some workers not wearing masks in the building.

Despite having shoulder surgery two months ago, Betty Cromwell, a 57-year-old resident who is disabled, said she has been helping some of her older neighbors pack up their things.

She said she would like Twin Pines staff to help residents who can’t organize their things themselves and don’t have family nearby to help.

“They need to take that effort and go door to door,” Cromwell said in a phone interview Friday.

Sarah Dresser, a 39-year-old resident with serious health issues, said workers are still finishing installing the building’s ventilation system, which is especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the move has been unnecessarily physically and emotionally traumatic for residents.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” she said.

Winter, in a Friday email, said that moving is stressful, especially during a pandemic, but that Twin Pines staff have “worked tirelessly to assist residents with their transition into the new building.”

He said Twin Pines takes “the safety of every resident very seriously. Residents were moved into the building only after the Town of Hanover had inspected the property, deemed it safe, and allowed occupancy.”

Hanover Town Manager Julia Griffin said that from what she’s observed Twin Pines staff and their contractors have done a good job.

“You do have lots of folks walking in and out of the building all day between contractors, movers, family members, residents and cleaners and the site surrounding the building is still a partial construction site so some dust is to be expected in the entryways and hallways,” she said in a Friday email. “I was in two empty units this morning and they were very clean and seemed dust-free.”

Resident Jodi Austin, 79, said that Twin Pines staff have corrected any “glitches” that have come up during the move.

“I have no complaints,” she said, describing the new building as “beautiful.”

Heyl, who has lived at Summer Park for 18 years, said he especially likes the windows and the sunlight that shines into his new apartment, as well as the “top-line” appliances; and the “incredible construction” quality such that he can barely hear traffic noise from the street below.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.

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