Rev. Terrence Porter shows off a drawing of the Cedar Crossing affordable housing project, which is likely to get started in the next several weeks. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Barring any bureaucratic glitches, Red Bank’s Cedar Crossing affordable housing project will start shaping into reality next month.
There’s just a little more red tape to get the borough’s most ambitious effort at creating affordable housing in decades through, says Rev. Terrence K. Porter, president of the Red Bank Affordable Housing Corporation, the nonprofit entity overseeing the much-anticipated project.
“Things are moving as well as expected,” said Porter, pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church. “I really feel great about the progress we’ve made.”
The real progress the kind you can see, such as construction could come as early as April, Porter said. The project has cleared all the necessary hurdles on the local level, but is now in the process of getting signed off by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Two Rivers Water Reclamation Authority, as well as waiting on state and county entities to come through on funding.
At tonight’s meeting of the Red Bank Council, elected officials are expected to introduce an ordinance that would vacate the eastern ends of River and Cedar streets to further the project.
In an e-mail to redbankgreen, Porter said there’s a target date of April 16 to close on the property.
“Once that’s done…there’s going to be a lot of signing over going on,” he said. “Then it’s going to be a matter of putting shovels in the ground a day or two after the signing.”
The state’s affordable housing agency, Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, is backing the estimated $3.6 million project and the Red Bank Housing Authority is set to oversee the construction.
Porter said he’s been in contact with state and local agencies every day getting updates and positive responses. The most recent evidence of forward progress on the proposed 36-unit housing project can be seen in two bonds passed by the council to support infrastructure improvements in the area.
The housing corporation has been working with the Monmouth County Housing Alliance and HMFA to get prospective buyers of the homes certified for mortgages. The homes, split up into two- and three-bedroom units, will sell for anywhere between $85,000 and $135,000, Porter said.
Porter said there’s no specific timeline once work gets started at the two-acre tract at the eastern ends of Cedar, Catherine and River streets, although he’d like to see it done in six months. However, he said, “I’m a little bit more aggressive. Six months is an aggressive time frame.”
There should be no problems moving families into the homes once complete, Porter said. For the last 18 months, the housing corporation, in conjunction with the county and state housing authorities, has developed a large pool of prospective buyers from Monmouth, Mercer and Ocean counties. Those possible buyers have gone to certification classes and met with lenders to determine their eligibility and get them “mortgage ready,” Porter said.
The end result, he said, will be about three dozen new families owning homes in Red Bank, potentially by the end of the year.
“This is going to give 36 families an opportunity to get started. That’s 36 families that can possibly have an impact on our community,” he said. “A project like this is only going to enhance the community as a whole.”