Cherry Hill Lane construction begins

“Dirt is flying”
Thu, 07/18/2019 - 6:30pm

The Block Island Housing Board’s Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing development off Cooneymus Road has broken ground.

“The good news is, we are underway,” Chair Cindy Pappas told board members at their July 15 meeting.

Project Manager Herman Mast confirmed it: “Dirt is flying.”

As of the meeting Monday night, excavation had begun on the access road and driveways for the five-home subdivision, Mast said. The first two foundations were set to be excavated this week. The crews from A. Transue Corp. and M. Ernst Excavating were working well together, he added; “It’s really nice to see.”

Now that the work has begun at the site, “There are so many tasks ahead of us, so much oversight ahead of us,” Pappas said. A final contract with Pariseault Builders, the successful bidder to construct the homes, is still being negotiated. Mast said Pariseault is expected to give the Board a final price for the work shortly. Once that is received, a formal contract will be finalized and reviewed before it is presented for the Board’s approval.

The Board will be working on other steps in the process also. Once the site work is done, documentation must be submitted to to get final approval for the project from the Planning Board at its August 14 meeting. The recent Request for Proposals for legal services will be reissued (no bids were received by the July 8 deadline seeking an attorney experienced in land use matters).

Town Finance Director Amy Land is taking the lead on obtaining a loan to finance construction of the homes, and will prepare the loan package, said Pappas. The Board has cash on hand to pay for the site work now underway. The loan will pay for construction of the five houses. Once the houses are sold, the loan will be paid off.

Member Rosemary Tobin, who had made initial contact with potential lenders, added that they are “ready and willing to help with loans” for the potential homebuyers. That information will be part of a package available at community meetings the Board hopes to schedule beginning in early Fall 2019. An existing list of interested people has been reviewed and will be updated.