Second Street house will finally be restored

JULIE LANE PHOTO | A home damaged by fire in Greenport will be restored soon.

After three years of promises, neighbors will finally see work begin on restoring one of two Section 8 houses in Greenport Village that burned down in August 2008.

Construction is slated to begin June 30 on the house at 620 Second St., according to North Fork Housing Alliance director Tanya Palmore.

That house was damaged in the late afternoon blaze, while an adjacent house at 618 Second St. was totally destroyed and had to be demolished. Because the properties belong to the North Fork Housing Alliance, the rebuild has been delayed by red tape involved in winning state approval for the plans. The state finances projects that provide Section 8 housing for low-income residents.

The blaze left 10 residents of the two houses homeless, although all subsequently found other housing, Ms. Palmore said. But neighbors, concerned about both danger at the sites and potential impact on their property values, have long been asking that work get under way.

Ms. Palmore has come before the Village Board several times to explain that she couldn’t move forward with the work without state permission. Last week, she finally received a letter approving June 30 as the start date for the work.

“I’m singing it from the rooftops,” Ms. Palmore said. She’s not sure how long construction will take. “We just want it to start.”
Five rental units will be created at 620 Second St., Ms. Palmore said.

Plans for the project passed muster with Historic Preservation Commission members last year. Because the site is part of the village’s historic district, HPC had to weigh in. Architect Garrett Strang said he’s working with the housing alliance to develop specifications so the work could be put out to bid.

“We’re not going out to bid tomorrow,” Mr. Strang said then. But he wanted approvals so he could move forward with getting the state to sign off on the project.

At the same time, Mr. Strang said he will resume talks with the HPC if a few aspects of the plan prove too costly for what he described as a tight budget and need to be revised.

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