Construction of Columbia Terrace is officially underway following a ceremonial groundbreaking by town officials, veterans, and the construction company.
The groundbreaking was held Tuesday, Oct. 30, on the grounds of an affordable housing development for veterans. Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Town Board members Joan Cergo, Mark Cuthbertson and Ed Smyth, Community Development Agency Director Leah Jefferson, Assemblyman Steve Stern, representatives from Lipsky construction and members of the American Legion, VFW and the veterans advisory board attended the groundbreaking.
“Huntington Station has been waiting decades for neighborhood and economic revitalization, which over the past several years has began to mobilize,” Lupinacci said.
The town’s Community Development Agency acquired the property in 2010.
“Affordable housing is so far out of reach for so many people living here on Long Island,” Jefferson said. “So the more than we can provide affordable housing and the gift of the American Dream of home ownership, I think is really important, particularly here in the town of Huntington. Not only can home cost be expensive, but the taxes can also put a home out of reach for individuals.”
Affordability was always a goal for the project but in 2015, the CDA earmarked the homes for veterans and their families. Those who have served our country will have a chance to own one of the 14 homes through entering a housing lottery.
“Our veterans and their families make many sacrifices to keep us safe,” Lupinacci said. “When they come home, we owe them the opportunity to have the stability of owning a home that they can live in.”
Lipsky Construction won the contract to build the homes with a $2.94-million bid. The goal is to have veterans moved in by Sept. 30, 2019.
For Lipsky, the project is special.
“We took special consideration of this bid when we gave our pricing, that it was for veterans,” Barry Lipsky, president of Lipsky Construction, said. “Our company is in the third generation, my brother and myself are the third generation, and my grandfather started it, who was a World War II vet.”
“This is very exciting day and project for our community, but most importantly for those that serve all of us,” Stern, a member of the Veterans Affairs committee in the Assembly, said. “With the Lipsky family we know that can look forward to an outstanding project that will make all of our veterans and our community proud.”
Jefferson hopes it will be a model and inspiration for future projects.
“With all of the service they [veterans] have provided to residents here and across the nation,” Jefferson said. “They face hardships and issues with the healthcare crisis, coming back and dealing with war or maybe dealing with other obstacles. Home ownership might out of reach, so we want to provide them with the affordability of owning a home, especially first-time home buyers.”
The housing lottery will be held about two months before the project is completed, CDA officials said.