Chenango County, state celebrate completion of Red Mill Apartments renovation

May 7—Chenango County and the state celebrated the completion of renovations at Red Mill Apartments by Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango, Inc. during a ribbon cutting ceremony May 7.

The organization received a $5.2 million state grant through the federal Community Development Block Grant program of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to renovate the 18-unit affordable housing complex in 2021, a Daily Star archive said.

"On behalf of Governor Hochul, I'm really excited to celebrate the completion of the Red Mill Apartments," State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said. "This is a project that I've heard a lot about, and most of it was not good. These apartments were really distressed and the tenants who were living here had substandard and unacceptable living conditions. We were excited to jump in and be a part of this."

According to the previous article, the apartment complex was built in the 1990s and was in such disrepair that grant funding was needed to pay for the renovations. The nine one bedroom and nine two bedroom apartments received extensive repairs to bring them up to code. The rehabilitation included gutting the building interior and extensive repairs to the exterior, a media release from Hochul's office said. The building received a new roof, siding, windows, walls and doors; upgraded heating, plumbing, electric and septic pump systems; and a new fire alarm system for the complex. The laundry room and office for the housing associate in the complex were also redone and new, large capacity washers and dryers were installed.

"Although this project is small, every one, two, 18 or 1,800 unit project is important to us at HCR," Visnauskas said. "Projects like these in rural communities are hard to do. It's a big state and it can sometimes be hard to make sure we're spreading our resources in ways that are most meaningful. But for us, it's about the families."

All of the apartments are available for households earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income, John Villanueva, housing associate, said. A full-time Intensive Housing Family Advocate is available to provide supportive services such as life skills education and training, employment skills training or case management services, the media release said.

Villanueva gave a tour of one of the one bedroom apartments to visitors. The apartment has a living room/kitchen area with all new appliances, closet space, bedroom and an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bathroom and shower. The apartment is heated and cooled with electric heat pumps in the living room and bedroom.

"I just want to let everybody know; I don't know all the names of the people who worked on this project, but I live across the street and I've watched it ongoing and this is such an exciting project for me and the town of New Berlin," New Berlin Town Supervisor Wendy Rifanburg said. "We are so thankful and honored that Opportunities for Broome and Chenango Counties picked us because we do have a housing crisis in our town. I do know a couple residents who live here and they are just as happy as we are."

Kelly Robertson, deputy director of Greater Opportunities for Broome and Chenango, Inc., said she is happy to see the apartment project completed for the families who live there.

This project at Red Mill Apartments builds on HCR's recent investments in rural communities in Chenango County, the release said. The county completed a broadband internet network expansion in New Berlin and Norwich last year using a $1.9 million CDBG-CV investment administered by HCR. This March, HCR awarded more than $1.5 million from the NYS HOME-ARP Program to renovate four units at 30 Genesee Street in New Berlin, which will be reserved for households earning at or below 60% AMI who are in need of supportive services. This award will be used in combination with an adjacent four-building project funded through the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's Homeless Housing Assistance Program.

Vicky Klukkert, staff writer, can be reached at or 607-441-7221.