Letter: Community effort made Highland Woods a reality

Community effort made Highland Woods a reality

To the editor:

People started moving into Highland Woods, the new 40-unit housing complex for seniors in Williamstown, this past week. This is an accomplishment that deserves celebrating!

The new housing units have been completed in record time from start to finish, thankfully in time to help at least some of the current and former residents of the Spruces. It is a beautiful new building, located in a wonderful setting, that is a great asset to the community, and will be for many years to come.

Many individuals and organizations, of course, deserve credit for It making it possible — too many to mention them all. However, from the beginning, it should be noted that this has been a model collaborative effort that included: widespread financial support from Williamstown residents, the ongoing, unwavering advocacy of Higher Ground, the remarkable work of Peter Fohlin to get the FEMA grant, the commitment of town funds through the CPC and the Affordable Housing Trust, and, of course, the generous donation of the land by Williams College. A great development team, headed by the Berkshire Housing Development Corporation and the Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development, as well as lots of support from talented town staff, pulled these resources together and made it all happen.

Though the completion of Highland Woods is a remarkable accomplishment, much more needs to be done to make sure that people of all ages have access to appropriate, affordable housing options. The development of the former PhoTec site at 330 Cole Avenue for multi-generational housing, when complete, will be another important milestone towards that end.

So, in my opinion, the completion of Highland Woods deserves to be recognized, not only for the addition of its much-needed new housing units, but for the way is has been accomplished. This has been a real community effort in almost every sense of the word, and an example of what can happen when the community comes together, and works together, toward a needed goal.

Congratulations, and thanks to all, are in order!

Van Ellet, Williamstown The writer is chair, Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee.


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