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Update from Tony Lyons, Board President

Last night the Old Lyme Zoning Commission approved 3-2 River Oaks Commons I and II, sponsored by HOPE Partnership and Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development (WIHED). This is an amazing outcome given the loud vocal opposition of a minority of Old Lyme residents. We are very heartened by this result and will be going through the conditions related to the approval with our consultants to determine next steps. Thank you to all HOPE Board and Advisory members who expressed support, both publicly and privately over the last few months.

I reported in my last message the exciting news that HOPE’s site plan application for The Lofts at Spencer's Corner was unanimously approved by the Essex Zoning Commission back in July. Since then, we were thrilled to learn in September that the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) approved a grant of $3.9 million to finance the project. This will allow the project to proceed in 2019. Our plan is to convert the upper floors of the Spencer’s Corner commercial property to residential uses. The project will rescue a troubled and underutilized property and create 17 affordable loft-style apartments in downtown Centerbrook, walkable to transit, restaurants, schools and services. With locals approvals now complete and DOH funding in hand, HOPE submitted an application to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston with Essex Savings Bank for the final piece of financing.

HOPE’s Executive Director Lauren Ashe notified us last month she decided to accept a new position with American Red Cross. Lauren has made no secret of her desire to find a position that would offer full time employment with benefits. While she loves HOPE Partnership and has grown into a true leader for our organization, I don’t think any of us can fault her for making a decision that is best for her family. I know we will all miss her and will be grateful for all that she has done to move HOPE into a full scale development organization that is recognized State-wide for its accomplishments to create housing options here on the shoreline.

We had another very successful fundraiser last month at the Ivoryton Playhouse where we sponsored ONCE, the Musical. The show was fantastic and HOPE was able to net over $21,000 to help subsidize our programs. Many thanks to our sponsors and the Development Committee for all their work putting this event together. In other good news, our Annual Campaign so far has produced $5,000 in donations to HOPE. There is still time to make a donation.

Lauren & HOPE Board member Jim Crawford recently appeared on iCRV radio talking about HOPE – the show can be heard here:

HOPE’s next Board of Directors meeting will take place Monday October 15, 5:00 pm at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Old Saybrook. We will be recognizing Lauren, as well as some departing Board members for their service to HOPE Partnership and nominating new Board members. As always Advisory Council members and volunteers are invited to attend all HOPE Board meetings. I hope to see you there.

Thank you for your commitment to HOPE.

Tony Lyons

President – Board of Directors

HOPE Partnership

191 Main Street

Old Saybrook, CT 06475

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