Home » Sharon » Sharon Housing Trust considers Community Center conversion

Affordable housing options were discussed during a community-wide forum held at the Sharon Playhouse’s Bok Gallery on Sunday, Jan. 15. Sharon Housing Trust board member Bob Whelan, at right, served as co-leader of the open discussion. Photo by Leila Hawken

Sharon Housing Trust considers Community Center conversion

SHARON — A public discussion was convened at the Sharon Playhouse’s Bok Gallery on Sunday, Jan. 15 to discuss affordable, workforce housing, in particular the use of the Community Center building for housing. At least 50 residents attended the meeting, which was planned by the nonprofit Sharon Housing Trust (SHT) and was led by board members Bob Whelan and Dale Jones.

A current proposal focuses on conversion of the Community Center building at 99 North Main Street, envisioning four apartment units within the two-story building measuring a total of 3,600 square feet. Whelan indicated that each level measures under 2,000 square feet.

The apartments would offer one or two bedrooms and one bath. The location is seen by the SHT as ideal because it is next to Sharon Center School.

Enlarging the footprint of the building would not be possible, as was suggested by a resident because the lot measures only 0.26 acres and each apartment would need two parking spaces in the rear, a total of eight spaces.

The town currently owns and maintains the building at an annual cost of approximately $16,000, included in the town budget. By engaging in local financing of the project, the town could ensure that tenants of the apartments would be locally employed residents needing affordable housing, Whelan explained.

“The Community Center is relatively do-able and not too expensive to get done,” Whelan said, indicating that the building is solid,  having been well-maintained by the town.

A show of hands poll indicated that nearly all of those present would consider the Community Center proposal further as a possibility.

Expanding the conversation to existing affordable housing, Sharon Ridge’s 32 units have a waiting list numbering 85 families. In all there are 36 affordable housing units in town, Whelan added, with the remaining four scattered around town.

Additional housing possibilities were discussed for land at 145 Hospital Hill Road. Whelan said that the State Department of Housing is willing to provide resources with an expectation that the town will control the project.

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