Affordable housing under microscope: Housing chair visits region on listening tour to hear about challenges

Staff Writer
Published: 9/10/2023 11:55:38 AM

CHESTER — Making good on an offer she extended during a recent legislative debate, East Boston Sen. Lydia Edwards visited Chester on Thursday to learn more about the challenges involved in developing affordable housing in the hinterlands of western Massachusetts.

It was part of a two-day trip for Edwards, who also found time to visit Fitchburg, Holyoke, Great Barrington, Springfield, Hadley and Greenfield.

In Chester, Edwards, who chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing, joined Sen. Paul Mark, D-Becket, on a tour of the Chester Commons, the town’s former high school, which is undergoing extensive renovations since its purchase in 2020 by the Hilltown Community Development Corp.

The building was originally converted to affordable housing in 1987, but had fallen into disrepair under the previous ownership. Hilltown CDC’s aim was to preserve the 15 units of affordable housing for seniors and those with disabilities, while bringing the building up to modern standards of habitability and accessibility.

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