Special housing, a likely model for New Jersey

Posted by Pam Blanton on June 30, 2010

BY ALLISON PRIES, THE RECORD, Staff writer

Standing on the meandering paver walkways leading to their new apartments, Diana Stolfo and Matt Arnold locked hands and raised them up in celebration.

Finally, the 28-year-olds will each have a place of their own.

Stolfo, of Ridgewood, and Arnold, of Mahwah, are two of 10 developmentally disabled adults who will move into the nearly complete Orchard Commons housing in Allendale.

Local and state officials gathered Wednesday afternoon at the Franklin Turnpike property for a ribbon cutting and ceremony to acknowledge those who made the development possible.

” ‘Proud’ is not the word. This is just phenomenal,” Allendale Mayor Vince Barra told the crowd gathered in front of the three one-story buildings. “I had a vision of a park and housing, but I have to tell you, I never had a vision of this.”

The project has been three years in the making. Initially, Barra and the Borough Council waged a battle against a developer who had approvals to build 24 town houses on the site. Officials persuaded him to sell the 3-acre property to the borough, which made a 2.5-acre passive recreation park and used the remaining half-acre to develop affordable housing units.

Allendale transferred ownership of the half-acre to a non-profit it established, Allendale Housing Inc., and partnered with the Bergen County United Way and the Madeline Corp. to build four two-bedroom and two one-bedroom units.  READ MORE

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