NEW BRITAIN — Margaret Murtha says she’s looking forward to moving into her new digs at Corbin Heights. At 83, Murtha said, a first-floor apartment would be a welcome relief. She wouldn’t have to climb stairs like she does now.
The Simon Konover Co. and the Corbin Heights & Pinnacle Heights Extension Resident Association hosted a joint celebration Monday on Governor Street for Murtha and her neighbors. The three organizations held a signing ceremony for a historic, three-party agreement. It marked the first-of-its-kind, tri-party agreement guaranteeing residents the right to a voice in the planning and redevelopment of their community.
The $80 million project involves demolition of World War II era housing and construction of 301 new rental homes.
Konover first opened for business in West Hartford half a century ago. The housing communities were previously owned by CPS Properties Inc., a subsidiary of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
Konover representatives and the community’s resident council have been quietly negotiating details of the agreement for some time. A first phase of the agreement, covering the period prior to the start of construction on the Corbin Heights & Pinnacle Heights Extension property, was signed in June 2009.
The second phase of the agreement was signed by resident council members and Konover officials in July. The agreement will be in effect throughout the construction phase of the project. The event celebrated the revitalization of the two housing communities.
The third phase of the agreement, negotiated and signed before the end of construction, will address community governance issues such as whether to allow pets and allocation of parking spaces.
Mayor Timothy O’Brien said he was “gratified to see that development is being done in a way that respects the needs and interests of the residents. A source of pride for New Britain, this community is, in fact a model for the state.”
Simon Konover President Jim Wakim told The Herald that although the project will be completed by the end of 2014; some residents are expected to move into new quarters before January 2013. After phase one at Corbin is completed, phase one at Pinnacle will start. A relocation specialist will work closely with families to coordinate moving and related services to minimize any inconvenience.
Wakim said he has been impressed with “the dedication and perseverance of everyone involved. This is a project that has captured the attention and hearts of the community.”
As for Murtha, she doesn’t know when she will be able to move into her new apartment, where it will be in the complex, or if her application will be accepted.
However, her son Frank is confident about the application.
“She’s on Title 19,” he said. “She’s not sleeping too well now. Her pipes are noisy; they keep banging and they’re too old to fix.”
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