CATCH begins construction on $3.2 million expansion of low-income housing in Bow
After several years in the works, construction is beginning on a $3.2 million expansion of low-income housing in Bow. The expansion will add 16 two-bedroom units to the existing 20 at Bow Highlands, a CATCH Neighborhood Housing development off Bow Bog Road.
Yesterday, CATCH hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for town officials, project funders and supporters who gathered together and held up shovels for a group photo after the morning event. But behind the tent – erected next to a row of the existing brightly colored homes – was the real action: the construction site where a backhoe sat atop a strip of churned up soil.
The development’s newest units – fourteen townhomes and two garden-style homes – should be completed by January of next year, said CATCH President Rosemary Heard.
In December, the nonprofit housing group will begin accepting applications for the 1,000-square-foot units at Bow Highands, which is one of the group’s most sought after properties. Rent on the townhomes will range between $700 and $925 per month and are based on the tenants’ income.
Bow Highlands fulfills a need that the town has had for a long time, said Bow selectmen Chairwoman Jill Haddaway, during a speech at yesterday’s ceremony. While working as a tax collector for the town, she received many calls from people who asked her about affordable housing in Bow and she had to turn them down. “I was excited to hear CATCH was coming,” she said. “This is a perfect fit for the town.”
CATCH completed construction on the first 20 townhomes in 2011. It obtained the developing rights to the remaining 16 units last summer and received approval from New Hampshire Housing Finance authority for the low-income housing tax credits last fall.
It means a lot that Bow Highlands II is going forward, Heard said. The Bow development was CATCH’s first project outside Concord, and the nonprofit has maintained a good relationship with the town. “It’s validation,” she said, “of what we have done so far and a real acceptance and willingness to have additional units here.”
Since Bow Highlands opened its doors, the town hasn’t seen any large increases in public assistance, which was something residents were concerned about, said Bow Town Manager David Stack. Additionally, the development pays property taxes to the town, which totalled $48,000 last year.
And the development enables residents to stay in Bow if they may not be able to afford it, Heard said.
“We know we need to have affordable housing,” Stack said. “It is an important part of community for people to be able to live here.”
Three years ago, John Collins moved into Bow Highlands from Nashua with his two teenage daughters. “It’s definitely been positive for me,” he said. He appreciates the good school system and the view from his home; Bow Highlands sits atop a hill looking out at wooded mountains. At first the nature took some getting used to, but living in the development has changed his life, he said. “Being in the city, it’s a lot easier to get into mischief and it’s just so peaceful up here.”
(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)