HomeExaminerExaminer NewsAllen House apartments dedicated in Millstone

Allen House apartments dedicated in Millstone

By Matthew Sockol
Staff Writer

MILLSTONE – After almost a decade of effort, the Allen House apartment building in Millstone Township has opened.

On March 10, representatives of the Affordable Housing Alliance (AHA), Neptune, celebrated the completion of the project with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Allen House, 477 Stagecoach Road, in the Clarksburg section of the community.

The Allen House was built to help Millstone meet its affordable housing obligation as mandated by state law. The building was constructed on a 4-acre lakeside property and contains 10 apartments. Individuals age 62 and over whose income meets certain guidelines may apply to live in the Allen House. No more than two people may live in an apartment.

The property that is now the home of the Allen House is near the Millstone Community Center and the Clarksburg Inn. The parcel was purchased by Millstone Township in 2007 and municipal officials began working with the AHA on a housing project in 2008. Construction of the Allen House began in the fall of 2014.

“After we went through five design changes, you go around and ask if it was all worth it. Yes it was,” said Donna M. Blaze, chief financial officer of the AHA, who spoke before an audience in the Allen House community room prior to the ribbon cutting. “I have been in this business for 30 years and this is one of the most beautiful sites we have worked on. I hope you all get a chance to enjoy this.”

Blaze acknowledged the efforts of David Feldman of Feldman and Feldman, the architect of the Allen House, Matt Shafai of Leon S. Avakian Inc., the engineering firm that worked on the project, and Asish Patel and Sharon Levy of Monarch Housing Associates, the consultants. She thanked Michael Stasi and Peggy Zarelli, who are on the AHA Board of Directors.

In attendance at the ceremony were Millstone Mayor Bob Kinsey, Monmouth County Freeholder John Curley, state Assemblyman Ronald Dancer, state Assemblyman Robert Clifton, and Jeff Sagnip, representing Congressman Chris Smith.

“We are sitting inside of what we dreamed of,” Kinsey said. “We are under an obligation to build (affordable) housing, perhaps even more so than (cities like) New Brunswick and Newark, and these are the facilities that are good for this town.”

Kinsey noted the proximity of the Allen House to the municipal building at 470 Stagecoach Road. He acknowledged the residents of the apartment building and said, ”Congratulations to all the residents moving in here. We look forward to having you.”

He praised Blaze and the AHA for their efforts to bring the plan for the Allen House to fruition, along with the township, and he thanked Curley and state Senator Sam Thompson for their support.

“I could not be happier with the support we have,” Kinsey said. “This is a great property.”

Curley thanked Kinsey and praised Millstone’s commitment to providing affordable housing.

“Look at all of the people who have lined up as a team,” the freeholder said. “This is quite a team. Look at what they have accomplished. This is an absolutely beautiful complex.”

Dancer and Clifton presented Blaze with a citation from the state Senate and Assembly. Clifton spoke highly of the collaboration between the local and federal governments that played a role in the development of the Allen House, saying, “This is an example of how great affordable housing should be.”

Blaze acknowledged the efforts of Maria Maio-Messano of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Beth Bentley of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, and Keith Getter of NeighborWorks America.

Maio-Messano said while some public housing looks the same regardless of the environment in which it is built, the Allen House stands out.

“This is the affordable housing that will fit into a community,” she said. In addressing the residents of the Allen House, she said, “You are now part of the community. We build beautiful buildings because that is what you deserve.”

“It is always nice when I can see the houses that are built,” Bentley said. “I am proud to have been part of it.”

Following the speakers’ remarks, a ribbon in front of the building was cut by Kinsey and Allen House resident Shirley Polhemus.

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