At Tuesday evening’s Derry City Council assembly, Councilor Brian Chirichiello introduced he was advised by a Rockingham County commissioner that the county is not pursuing the $600,000 buy of the previous Classic Grace impartial dwelling facility at 12 Peabody Street.
Rockingham County Commissioner Kevin Coyle advised the Union Chief it was the sellers — the Derry Housing and Redevelopment Authority — who backed out of the deal.
The information got here as a reduction to councilors who expressed frustration on the proposed deal after they realized about it two weeks in the past. The county had plans to show the power right into a transitional dwelling facility for prisoners.
The seven-member council unanimously opposed the deal and agreed to jot down a letter expressing their dismay and examine the deal’s origins. Chirichiello stated he didn’t desire a midway home inside 1,000 ft of two faculties and near senior housing.
“We’d have fought that tooth and nail to stop it,” Councilor Phyllis Katsakiores stated.
Chirichiello advised the Union Chief he believes the deal fell aside as a result of there was an excessive amount of political warmth. After councilors first mentioned it in a gathering and shared the knowledge with the general public, Chirchiello stated the state of affairs “blew up.”
“I had three days of cellphone calls. … I had extra calls than I ever had in 15 years on the city,” Chirichiello stated.
He first realized of the deal when the letter of intent was included in a packet for members of the county govt committee to evaluation earlier than its Could eight assembly.
Councilors stated they felt blindsided by the information, however Coyle stated that letter of intent was the conventional channel for informing the general public of a pending deal that was nonetheless in its infancy.
“As an alternative of choosing up the cellphone, they grandstanded and had individuals all riled up,” Coyle stated of the council.
Coyle stated the matter was overblown for political causes, and stated he by no means obtained the possibility to make the county’s case for why they wanted a transitional dwelling middle.
He stated he grew up in Derry and attended the elementary and center faculties close to the constructing, as did his personal children. He had no considerations about placing a midway home within the space.
Coyle stated the those who facility would have served would have been principally misdemeanor-level offenders, they usually’re typically people who find themselves “down on their luck” with psychological diseases and addictions.
However with transitional housing, they’re far much less prone to commit crimes, Coyle stated. With out it, they’re typically homeless and pushed to desperation.
“No one desires it of their city as a result of they don’t perceive what it’s and the necessity for it,” he stated. “You may faux these individuals don’t exist, however they’re in your neighborhood.”
Whereas the power would have been shut to varsities, it could have additionally been half a mile away from the Middle for Life Administration, Derry’s neighborhood psychological well being middle, Coyle stated.
Councilors beforehand suspected the origin of the deal was fraught with conflicts of curiosity. However Coyle stated the Housing Authority’s Realtor approached the county concerning the property in early April. Coyle stated the Realtor knew the county was in search of one thing to satisfy their transitional dwelling wants as a result of he had beforehand proven them an analogous property.
Coyle stated the county will proceed to seek for a transitional dwelling facility in a significant inhabitants middle with close by sources.
The Salvation Military of Better Derry was within the property as nicely. The nonprofit might want to transfer quickly for the reason that state acquired its present property through eminent area.
However the Derry Housing Authority was in a rush to promote the property on account of its ongoing utility prices, in accordance with Rep. David Milz, who sits on the Housing Authority board.
Throughout Tuesday’s assembly, Councilor Jim Morgan stated he wished to look into these bills with a watch towards saving the property for the Salvation Military.
“Maybe we will decide up these minimal bills, which I can’t think about could be greater than a pair thousand bucks over the following two or three months,” Morgan stated.
Salvation Military Lt. Tyler Adcox advised the Union Chief the group will once more discover buying the property.
“We have an interest within the property and we’re working with our greater ups on what our subsequent steps will likely be,” Adcox stated.
In the meantime, Jennifer Lague, the previous chair of the Derry Housing Authority board, resigned from the board on April 23, someday after the letter of intent was signed throughout a private assembly. Lague declined to remark publicly concerning the choice.