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Commissioners OK seeking tax credits for senior projects

Improving housing for seniors in the county got a boost when Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to support developers getting federal tax credits for their projects.

The commissioners adopted resolutions on the projects at their Thursday meeting.

“We are re-applying for the tax credits for the housing in Rome,” Ralph Kline of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, said. “Last year we fell right below the lines.”

The Rome project is to build 44 one-and two-bedroom units of low-income senior housing across from Fairland East Elementary School adjacent to the St. Mary’s Medical Center doctors’ offices and a sewer line extension.

A second project that also got the commissioners’ support for the tax credits will renovate the Lawrence Manor on County Road 1 in South Point where there are 60 one-and two-bedroom senior units adjacent to Lawrence Village.

“Those were built in 1970s and needed to be renovated,” Kline said. “They have old, inefficient heating and air conditioning. There will be new flooring in the kitchen. They will work on the exterior and do site improvements, make it more handicapped accessible and more lighting.”

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credits financed renovations of Lawrence Village about two years ago.

Both projects are expected to cost $8 million each. Developer for the Rome project is PIHRL of Cleveland and the South Point complex is owned and managed by Wallich of Columbus.

“The residents of Rome Township have too long been underserved with it comes to senior housing, assisted living and services for seniors,” Commission President Les Boggs said. “In South Point when they renovated (Lawrence Village), it was night and day. With Lawrence Manor, they want to do the same. The whole deal is to try to make things more affordable for our senior citizens.”

The LIHTC allows developers to sell tax credits that have been awarded to them to investors. Selling those credits provides the developer with capital for the project, reducing the amount that would have to be borrowed. Those getting the credits can cut their federal tax liability dollar for dollars, which is higher than the regular deductions taken off a taxpayers’ total income, for 10 years.

“I am 100 percent behind the seniors, especially in the eastern end,” Commissioner Freddie Hayes said. “We don’t have a whole lot for the seniors there.”

In other action the commissioners:

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report where three dogs were euthanized, 32 were adopted or went to rescue and two were redeemed by their owners.