Affordable housing construction set to begin in Gloversville

The city’s state-funded First Time Homebuyers Program, on hold for nearly a year as state agencies r

The city’s state-funded First Time Homebuyers Program, on hold for nearly a year as state agencies reviewed allegations of conflict of interest, may complete its first housing project by winter, an official said Wednesday.

Nicholas Zabawsky, the city grant writer who obtained a $459,000 state Affordable Housing Corporation grant in January 2009, said installation of the first modular house on a vacant city lot could occur in about a month. If circumstances delay efforts, Zabawsky said, houses certainly will be erected in the spring.

Work may soon proceed, Zabawsky said, because the city and housing vendor Ted Leto of Red Carpet Housing of Johnstown recently signed a contract governing program procedures.

At the same time, Zabawsky said, the Affordable Housing Corp. is reviewing a program contract with the city.

Under terms of the program, Zabawsky said, the city will sell vacant lots to qualified applicants for $1, allowing Red Carpet to sell and install a home. The base model cleared for the program will cost $113,000 and applicants will receive a grant subsidy of up to $40,000 to cover a down payment on a conventional bank mortgage.

Applicants who own a vacant lot in the city may use their own land in the program. Zabawsky said two of the approximately 10 applicants prefer that option.

The city has six to eight lots available, he said. Some of the city-owned parcels initially proposed for the program have since been rejected because of size or terrain, Zabawsky said.

Though city-owned lots will be sold directly to applicants for $1, Zabawsky said the city will pass along its costs if surveys, deed preparation or other work is necessary.

The grant proposes to fund 12 homes. City officials have said new home construction is expected to enhance neighborhoods while generating new tax dollars.

In June 2009, the Affordable Housing Corp. suspended the grant to Gloversville while it investigated allegations then-Mayor Tim Hughes, who bought a home from Red Carpet, gave the contract to Leto without fairly reviewing proposals from other vendors.

Leto and city officials have defended the selection of Red Carpet, noting that Leto offered the lowest price for a base-model home.

When Affordable Housing Corp. officials cleared the program to continue in April, a spokesman for the agency noted that the investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing and that with a new administration in office, some of the issues had become moot.

Leto said in April the allegations were baseless.

Categories: Schenectady County

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