Franklin Countys First News

Open house to celebrate 82 High Street project

Construction has been ongoing at the 82 High Street project over the past year.

FARMINGTON - An open house will be held on Thursday, May 18 to celebrate the completion of the 82 High Street Inc. construction project.

The event will run from 3 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., marking the completion of work on three apartment buildings located on Sawtelle Lane.

The nearly 30-year-old housing development 82 High Street Inc. was originally established by local churches, Western Maine Community Action and the Maine Housing Authority, all of which pooled resources to purchase the privately-owned development. In the late 1980s, organizers associated with various, local churches discovered that people in their town were living in unacceptable, substandard conditions, including some families living in real poverty.

At first, neighborly volunteers stepped up to provide badly needed repairs in a more informal capacity. In 1989, the group incorporated, naming the nonprofit after the postal address at the time, 82 High Street. Since its incorporation, board representatives from various churches have maintained an active role, and work closely with residents.

New mobile homes were installed and the aging apartment buildings were upgrade. Further improvements were made to the mobile homes in 2010. In 2015, new sewer and water lines were installed throughout the neighborhood. Meanwhile, a number of volunteers, including organizations such as Mission at the Eastward and University of Maine at Farmington students, undertook repair projects over the years to extend the life of the apartment buildings. These have included adding new stairs and fire escapes.

Eventually, however, it became clear to the 82 High Street board that the repair projects were not capable of keeping pace with the deterioration of the apartment buildings. Two of the three deteriorating structures were built around the year 1900, while the third was built in the 1960s on a very low budget; all three were deemed to expensive to try to renovate.

The $1.5 million housing project replaced three deteriorating two-story aging wood frame apartment buildings through a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant for housing assistance, a $500,000 federal home loan bank grant and a $540,000 bank loan. In total, the buildings include 12 new one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

"This is a success for the community," said 82 High Street Board President Janet Smith said. "Together, we reached an important goal toward ensuring good, affordable housing for individuals and families, while empowering people to participate in improving their own lives."

Organizations participating in 82 High Street Inc. over the years includes a wide range of churches, local organizations and state agencies. The Fairbanks Union Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, Shorey Chapel of Industry, Old South Congregational Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, and St. Luke's Episcopal Church of Wilton have sent representatives to the group for 30 years; and more recently, representatives from Living Waters, as well as the Summit Faith Community have joined the board. However, 82 High Street Inc. itself is completely nonreligious.

Local contractors associated with 82 High Street in the past have included Cousineau's, Bruce Manzer, Taylor Made Homes and ABT Electric. E.L. Vining & Son led sewer and pavement renovations several years ago, and has been an active supporter of the project. MaineHousing has also been involved in the organization.

The open house at Sawtelle Lane on May 18, will include guest speakers, recognition of key participants, food, and guided tours of the new apartment buildings. It is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is encouraged. Please email the names and number of people attending, to or leave a message at 778-9420.

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4 Responses »

  1. Thank you all for helping these residents of Farmington.

  2. Job well done to Roland & his crew, you guys do awesome work!

  3. My brother-in-law and his crew had a huge part in this project. Great job guys!!

  4. Been a good job ! Met new people ! One Is really cool !he shoveled steppes all winter and sanded them for us ! We appreciate that Chris !! Chris townson !! I give ME The SIGN! Happy your working !!