Big Improvements to Hartford Housing Development

A $20-million housing project is giving a Hartford’s Frog Hollow neighborhood a big boost.

Recently, the apartments inside a former mill on Broad Street were renovated.

Jendayi Nelson has lived in the Billings Forge apartments for five years. She no longer has to take the stairs to her third-floor apartment.

“It’s come a long way,” Nelson said.

A new elevator is just one of the improvements made to the 112-unit housing complex. The public spaces were renovated, the windows replaced, and all the units brought up to code. Outdoor spaces, including a garden, were also added.

“It makes me feel like I matter because they didn’t have to do that,” said Nelson.

The state contributed $5 million to the price tag. Another $9 million came from federal funds, and the rest, private investment.

“What we see here in this wonderful neighborhood are newly renovated apartments here for folks and really brings new vibrancy to this whole area,” said the Connecticut Commissioner of Housing, Evonne Klein.

The project is the latest in an effort to revitalize this Frog Hollow neighborhood. New restaurants and shops have popped up, and the weekly farmers market bustles with activity.

“We’re able to bridge that gap with food access,” said Jocelyn Cerda, the Billings Forge Farmers market manager.

“I think everybody likes supporting the local people,” said Judy Secord.

Secord has called the neighborhood home for 20 years and said she’s witnessed the positive change this public-private partnership has brought to the area.

“There wasn’t the vitality that there is now. There are people who are interested in the area and are taking care of things,” Secord said.

Klein said it’s critical to invest in affordable housing. One-hundred-two of the units are priced for people making under $59,000 a year.

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