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Orange board seeks more financial facts on Leisure Woods Estates
07-17-2024 4:39 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

ORANGE – A decision on whether Leisure Woods Estates can raise its monthly lot fees by 43% will wait until at least August, as the Mobile Rent Control Board requested additional budget information.Leisure Woods Estates Inc. is petitioning the board to...

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Homeless living in Athol garage say cost of housing is biggest obstacle
07-16-2024 3:49 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL – Last week, the Downtown Vitality Committee spoke with Police Chief Craig Lundgren about concerns they have regarding people using the long-closed municipal parking garage of off Exchange and South streets as a temporary shelter.Lundgren said...


Owners of Leisure Woods Estates mobile home park in Orange propose 43% rent hike, riling residents
07-07-2024 5:00 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

ORANGE — The owners of Leisure Woods Estates have proposed raising monthly lot fees by 43% and residents of the town’s only rent-controlled mobile home park worry about the financial strain it could put on them.Glenn Gidley, the principal owner of...


Study finds Franklin County homeless population on the rise
07-03-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

The number of homeless people in Franklin County has more than doubled in the last year, as the annual Point-in-Time count in January found 252 people sleeping in shelters or outside, compared to 104 in January 2023.Franklin County accounted for...


House approves five-year, $6.5 billion housing bond
06-09-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

Nearly 18 months after legislative leaders kicked off the two-year term by identifying sky-high housing costs as one of their chief areas of focus, the Massachusetts House stamped its approval on a $6.5 billion plan that top Democrats believe will...


House outlines $6.2 billion housing plan
06-05-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — House Democrats will seek a vote this week on a bill that combines $6.2 billion in state borrowing and tax credits with policy reforms designed to unlock new housing production, including development of units on single-family lots.With...


Poll: Mass. voters open to housing crisis solutions
06-04-2024 5:00 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

The major housing policy and bond bill expected to pass the House this week includes ideas that have the support of a majority of Massachusetts residents across demographic and political groups, like allowing people to build accessory dwellings on...


Home sales in state, Hampshire County spring to life in April
05-26-2024 5:00 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

BOSTON — There were 3,100 single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month, and while that number alone may not mean much to those still looking for an affordable home, it may represent a glimmer of hope — it was the largest year-over-year...


Transfer tax would make small dent in Massachusetts’ housing needs
05-21-2024 4:59 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

A proposed tax on high-value real estate transactions to pay for affordable housing would add an estimated 3,210 affordable homes in Massachusetts over five years, according to the governor’s administration – a drop in the bucket of the state’s...


New Realtor Association CEO looks to work collaboratively to maximize housing options
04-21-2024 5:00 PM

By ABNER ROJAS

SPRINGFIELD — As the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley’s new CEO arrives to a Massachusetts housing market plagued by high prices and a lack of stock, he aims to work alongside elected officials to maximize the availability of different kinds of...


Shelter money fading, but ‘not at the end of the line’
04-19-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI and SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — State dollars for the emergency family shelter system are dwindling, and restaurateurs who for years enjoyed expanded outdoor dining and the ability to sell drinks to go remain “in limbo” amid a sustained period of legislative...


Athol resident survey shows more housing, business development wanted
04-02-2024 5:02 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL – A survey asking residents their opinions on topics such as housing, transportation, economic development and land use garnered more than 240 responses.The survey was put together by the Master Plan Committee with help from BSC Group, the...


Info sessions to share scope of $15.6M housing proposal in Erving
03-24-2024 5:00 PM

By LIESEL NYGARD

ERVING — Ahead of this year’s Annual Town Meeting, two information sessions will be held to share details on an estimated $15.6 million housing proposal from Rural Development Inc. (RDI). The presentations will be held at the Senior & Community Center...


State’s rental assistance leaving families in limbo
03-19-2024 5:01 PM

By XINYI YANG

Anna Smith has applied three times to a state program that provides rental assistance for families — before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic — with the intention of “saving her two kids and her life.” What she didn’t anticipate was such a bleak...


Feasibility study reveals redevelopment, demolition options for Orange Armory
02-16-2024 5:02 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

ORANGE — The Orange Armory has served as a home for a volunteer militia regiment, a senior center and a roller rink business, among other functions. Might housing be added to the list? That’s a distinct possibility, and the professionals tasked with...


Athol housing project receives $600K as part of state program
02-04-2024 5:00 PM

By Greg Vine

ATHOL – NewVue Communities, the Fitchburg-based non-profit leading the redevelopment of the former Bigelow and Riverbend schools, has been awarded a $600,000 predevelopment loan by the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC).The...


Athol residents push back on housing proposal for Bidwell
02-01-2024 5:00 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL – The library’s community room was packed Tuesday night for a public meeting on the future of the town-owned Bidwell property off South Athol Road.Those in attendance expressed determined opposition to the construction of any housing on the...


Western Mass. legislators call for changes in Healey housing bill to meet region’s needs
01-21-2024 5:00 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

As the state considers the governor’s proposed $4.13 billion Affordable Homes Act — a comprehensive roadmap for affordable housing across the Commonwealth — a group of 16 western Massachusetts legislators are advocating for amendments to meet housing...


Crush of testimony reflects seriousness of state’s housing crisis
01-21-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — The Healey administration’s plan to supercharge housing production with billions of dollars of investment won some degree of praise from almost every corner of the state Thursday, but influential voices are at odds over some of the more...


Athol Town Manager hopes to bring housing projects to fruition
01-02-2024 3:07 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL – When asked about his priorities for the year ahead, Town Manager Shaun Suhoski said he’s excited for what could happen in Athol in 2024.“One of my roles, along with the Planning Department,” he continued, “is to try to cultivate projects that...


Erving Selectboard approves $15.6M senior housing proposal
01-01-2024 5:01 PM

By LIESEL NYGARD

ERVING — The Selectboard has unanimously supported moving forward with a $15.6 million senior housing proposal from Rural Development Inc. (RDI) in hopes of completing the project by 2028.The project is composed of three separate energy-efficient...

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