Downtown to get Supportive Housing Project

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by admin

MUNCIE — After being rejected on the south side, Muncie’s first proposed “supportive housing” project met with no opposition downtown.

No one appeared against the 44-unit, $7- million apartment building planned at Wysor and Walnut streets when the Metropolitan Board of Zoning Appeals voted on the project recently.

Mayor Dennis Tyler, the Muncie Redevelopment Commission and the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership are among the project’s supporters.

And Tyler, when he is working at city hall, would be one of the closest neighbors, along with American Legion Post 19, Madison Square Gardens tavern, Concannon’s Bakery, Star Financial Bank and Central High School.

William Hughes, an attorney for Daveri Development Group, Chicago, said the project would cater to people who can live independently but need supportive services, including the disabled, veterans and people at risk for homelessness.

The Veterans Administration and Merdian Health Services, a local non-profit behavioral health care provider, are partnering with Daveri on the project, a three-story, 44,306-square-foot building containing one-bedroom and studio apartments.

Some neighbors know little about the project, though they received a notice about a proposed apartment building.

“I didn’t know what it was, other than apartments,” said Nancy Burden, owner of Madison Square Gardens, a neighborhood bar. “I thought it might be good for business. We serve beer, wine and food. We have $1.50 tacos every Friday.

If the tenants are supervised, “I can’t oppose it,” Burden said in an interview on Monday. “I can’t oppose vets.”

New Castle resident Tony Kimbler, a restaurant owner/caterer who owns two rental houses and a storage building in the neighborhood, said, “Anything we can do to assist veterans, I’m 1,000 percent for that.”

The BZA granted Daveri a special use permit for the building on 2.4 acres, which w ould include a garden, bicycle racks, parking spaces, a picnic area with a permanent grill, an enclosed patio, a fitness center, a computer lab, a health clinic and on-site management.

Hughes said the project would enhance and stabilize the downtown as well as have a positive economic impact, including payment of property taxes and creation of 50 construction jobs.

Tenants would be screened by the VA, Meridian and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development would subsidize the rents. HUD defines the homeless as people who sleep in places not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks and abandoned buildings, or those who sleep in emergency shelters as a primary residence.

The disabled tenants would include those with mental disorders, such as someone who might have lived in a state hospital, said Gerry Cyranowski, vice president of clinical services at Meridian.

But as Johana Casanova, project manager at Daveri added, “We are disability neutral.” So tenants could have any number of disabilities, including physical impairments.

The project would not serve as prisoner re-entry housing. Convicted felons would not qualify as tenants.

Similar supportive projects have been constructed in Indianapolis, Kokomo and Fort Wayne.

Construction will start next year if the project receives rental housing tax credits through the state, which is a competitive process. Such tax credits under the Internal Revenue Code are an incentive to developers to provide affordable rental housing. The federal income tax credits offset the acquisition, new construction or rehabilitation costs for rental housing developments.

Daveri proposed the project downtown after southside residents objected to its construction on South Walnut Street near the entrance to Crestview Golf Course.