OSWEGO, NY – Housing Visions held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to mark the completion of the Oswego Hamilton Homes redevelopment.
Hamilton Homes was originally constructed in two phases between 1954 and 1962 as a public housing complex. It provided countless residents with affordable housing for more than 40 years.
As the buildings aged and funding for the renovations became scarce, Hamilton Homes management was unable to keep up with the various building, equipment and system failures that occurred.
Through the coordinated efforts of Housing Visions and various state and local agencies, more than $40 million was reinvested into the redevelopment to improve the apartments for another 50 years.
Construction began in 2007 and was completed in three phases.
Ben Lockwood, director of development for Housing Visions, detailed how Housing Visions become involved with Hamilton Homes back in 2006.
“We have put about $42 million into this entire complex. That sounds like a huge number. But, this was a 50- to 60-year-old complex and everything was worn out from the infrastructure, we had to put sprinklers in, things that were built to code when it was the 1950s and 1960s weren’t up to code in 2007, 2008 and 2009,” Lockwood said. “So, we have rebuilt this thing from stem to stern.”
He recognized all the partners who collaborated on the entire process.
“This is just the beginning. Now we have to manage it and we are excited to do that and we’re excited to give the families here in Oswego a great place to live; a place you can call home and really have an opportunity to succeed. The city has been great to work with; the local labor has been great.”
Born and raised in Oswego, Mayor Tom Gillen said he has “a lot of history with this place.”
“We’ve had friends, we’ve had relatives who’ve lived here,” he said. “I think it’s a real joy to come here now and see what it has come into. From a personal perspective, it makes me happy to be here.”
As mayor, he said the complex is a good model for the city.
“This is a neighborhood, just like every neighborhood and there are a lot of good memories for the people who grew up here. If we can do it here, we can do it everywhere. That’s what makes communities so special and what makes Oswego so special,” he said. “We’re going to use this as an example of what we can do. If this isn’t a dramatic celebration of the quality of life, I don’t know what is.”
“We do have great community in Oswego County and here in the city of Oswego,” agreed Assemblyman Will Barclay.
Daniel Buyer, regional director of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, echoed those sentiments.
“Oswego has a lot going for it,” he said. “This is really more than (housing) preservation. It is really transformative. You did more than just save some buildings; you transformed a community, neighborhood, into a place that’s now viewed as an asset.”
Sixth Ward Councilor Eric VanBuren grew up right across the street from the complex.
There is a lot of development going on in the city and Hamilton Homes has set a high standard for future development, he noted.
Congressman Bill Owens and Senator Patty Ritchie also sent their congratulations and best wishes.
Jeff O’Connor and Melissa Cronk helped snip the ribbon to officially conclude the final phase of the project.
They have lived in one of the apartments for a year, Jeff said.
“It’s a real nice place to live now,” he added. “They did a real good job on all the apartments.”
About Housing Visions:
Founded in 1990, Housing Visions is a Community-based 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization revitalizing and sustaining neighborhoods through a comprehensive approach that improves quality of life. They offer managed affordable housing in 7 cities in NYS.
Additional information may be found at www.housingvisions.org
“Hamilton Homes is the first large-scale, complex style renovation project for Housing Visions and realizes our vision to improve quality of life for the Oswego community. The successful completion of this project would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all involved, including our partnership with the local community,” Kenyon Craig, president of Housing Visions, Inc., said in a prepared statement.