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Ground breaking takes place for "Kemble Square" affordable housing project in Utica

By By GARY LIBERATORE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The official ground breaking ceremony for the Kemble Square affordable housing project in Utica was held Monday morning.

The project will consist of both brand new buildings as well as the total renovation of some existing ones. Upon completion there will be 37 brand new apartments for those who qualify for the low rent homes.

Onhand for the official ground breaking were Congressman Michael Arcuri, Assemblywoman Roann Destito and Utica Mayor David Roefaro.

Although the project is being called "Kemble Square," not all of the work is being done on Kemble Street. There will also be new units on nearby Hobart and Noyes Streets.

A good portion of the $9.2 million project is coming from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.

The company that will be doing all of the work is a not-for-profit company called Housing Visions out of Syracuse, which has done work here in Utica in the past, and is doing these sort of revitalization projects across New York State. Housing Visions Director of Development Ben Lockwood says, each of these projects is a building block of the revitalization of inner city neighborhoods, "I think in any city, if you look at the entire problem, it does seem overwhelming, but when you start approaching it block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, it's an approach that can work much better, we can't solve all of the problems, but we can solve some of the issues on these specific blocks in specific neighborhoods where we work in Utica.

Six of the 37 new units will be reserved for veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless.

All eight buildings are expected to be complete within the next 18 months.

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