- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont housing authority is moving forward with the construction of a nearly $14 million senior housing project that will replace most of a housing complex damaged during Tropical Storm Irene.

Workers started tearing down the R.S. Roberts building Tuesday as the Brattleboro Housing Authority moves ahead with plans to build the Red Clover Commons, the Brattleboro Reformer (http://bit.ly/1eTdedO ) reported.

The senior housing complex will replace a portion of the Melrose Terrace apartments, which were damaged by the August 2011 storm in when the nearby Whetstone Brook flooded the complex.

“It’s a very big deal,” said Chris Hart, executive director of the housing authority. “We are only one really bad storm away from losing our buildings here and no one wants to go through something like that again.”

The housing authority announced in 2013 that it would construct a 55-unit, three-story building off of Canal Street after finding a new location, drawing up plans and securing funding.

Construction is expected to take about a year, and if there are no delays, the first residents are to move out of Melrose Terrace and into Red Clover Commons sometime in the fall of 2016.

But there still will be about 26 residents needing a new place to live. Hart said the housing authority has only done preliminary work on finding a second site for a new housing project.

Once the work on Red Clover Commons is underway, Hart said, the housing authority will be able to put more resources toward finding a site for the second project.

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Information from: Brattleboro Reformer, http://www.reformer.com/

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