North Andover, Methuen and Merrimac Share in State Housing Choice Grants

State Housing and Economic Development Secretary Michael Kennealy speaks in Haverhill during a 2021 visit to formally open affordable housing units. (WHAV News photograph.)

Three area communities were awarded state Housing Choice grants Wednesday to help each address the statewide housing shortage.

North Andover was awarded $66,560 to study the town’s soon-to-be vacant 8,700-square-foot senior center at 120 Main St. and attached to town hall. The task calls for better understanding how the building should be used assembling cost estimates for options. Methuen plans to use $50,000 to plan how to comply with a new state law requiring multifamily zoning in communities served by the MBTA. Merrimac was awarded $123,500 to update its 2002 Master Plan to evaluate current and future housing, economic and infrastructure needs.

“We are thrilled to see more communities leveraging state funding to pursue zoning reforms to help us meet the massive demand for housing of all kinds and comply with MBTA Communities guidelines,” said Gov. Charlie Baker at a ceremony in Medway. “Municipal leaders understand how crucial thoughtful planning is for growing communities and changing needs, and today’s awards will help them undertake a variety of planning and small infrastructure projects to set them up for long-term success.”

Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy said the 36 grants statewide “support targeted projects that will benefit residents and create opportunities for housing and commercial development.”

The Housing Choice Grant Program is competitive program, rewarding communities with a Housing Choice Designation for producing a significant number of housing units in the last five years and that have adopted or established best practices that encourage housing production.

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