CANTON Renovation of the North Country Housing Councils 19 Main St. headquarters has begun more than a year after the building was gutted due to a mold problem.
To actually have the action in place makes a big difference, Housing Council Board President Theresa A. Phalon said. Things are looking positive.
The Housing Council moved its staff out of the building Sept. 29, 2010 after a number of them got sick from the mold spores. The council rented space while it raised money through its national underwriter, NeighborWorks, and had a capital campaign to pay for the cleanup and nearly $100,000 in renovation costs.
The reconstruction includes an environmentally friendly design with green construction materials and technologies.
Work on the building will take place in two phases.
The downstairs will be renovated first for staff offices. Eventually, the council will turn its attention to the second floor, which was once apartments and office space, but a determination for its use has not been decided yet.
Apartments would generate income for the council, but it wants to be sure it also has enough room for its home buyer education classes, Mrs. Phalon said.
The Housing Council continues to focus its efforts on grant-writing and assistance for first-time home buyers but has backed away from management of large apartment complexes.
The nonprofit agency still has a part-time interim director in Alan Hipps, Westport, the executive director of the Housing Assistance Program of Essex County, but is leaning toward a more permanent solution.
We are finally preparing to hire someone, Mrs. Phalon said. The interim may still have a hand in grooming someone. We dont know yet how its all going to work.