Funding Needed to Finish Apartments

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An old, low-income housing project in Lackawanna County that was in disrepair has been demolished. Now crews have started work on new apartments to replace them.

Funding for the apartments in Jessup, however, is still in question.

A lot is changed just off Katherine Road in Jessup. The plot of land is now empty and work crews with the Lackawanna County Housing Authority are preparing to dig foundations for brand new apartments.

"Yeah it's a change, it's a change, something different. It's been like that up there for, since I was a little kid, and before that," said Steven Arens of Jessup.

A welcome change for Arens and his neighbors, who said the low-income housing that was there was in disrepair.

One of the units caught fire last summer. The housing authority tore them down a few months later.

"They were gritty, and falling apart, and not good looking, and stuff like that," Arens added.

The plan is to build 76 new, low-income units and possibly in the future a high rise for senior citizens.

While crews have already started phase one of the project its completion depends on a federal tax credit, and officials with the housing authority won't know if they have that money for another two weeks.

"Roughly, phase one of this project will cost about $12 million to $14 million, and the tax credit is a crucial part of that," said James Dartt of the Lackawanna County Housing Authority.

He added he is confident the federal money will come through and the 76 families who had to leave last year could call this place home again.

"They have a preference to move in there first. If we get the tax credits, we expect construction to begin in August," Dartt said.

If the housing authority gets the tax credit, officials said the new apartments in Jessup would be finished in two years.