Senior apartment conversion starting in April

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Construction on the new senior apartments at the old Paris High School main building is scheduled to start this spring.

That was the news Paris Mayor Craig Smith announced at the city council meeting Monday, Jan. 28, ending concern over nearly a year’s delay in starting the project.

Earlier Monday the developers of Tiger Apartments informed the city that financing had been completed for the work to remodel the former high school into 42 apartments with affordable rents.

A spokesman for the Illinois Laborers’ Home Development Corp. said closing on the financing for the project will take place within the next few months. Total cost for the remodeling is expected to be around $42 million.

Meanwhile plans and engineering will be completed and actual construction is planned to start by April, the city was told.

The LHDC previously developed the two Maple Ridge affordable housing projects on East Court Street across from the Horizon Health campus. Both were fully rented out before construction was completed. Maple Ridge management will also operate the new Tiger Senior Apartments and anticipates those units will also be fully occupied as soon as available.

Start of the renovation was delayed for the past year while the developers applied for additional money to include a new roof on the former high school building. The initial plan was to maintain the present roof, but a later decision was reached to add the new roof at the time the interior work was scheduled.

Following that news, the council quickly moved through a brief business agenda.

In a related decision, the council approved the refinishing of the Eveland Gym floor at a cost of $2,500. The gym, located next to the former high school, is now owned and managed by the city and gets lots of use, the mayor noted. It is available or civic events, such as the Farm Bureau’s Taste of Edgar County later this spring, and the junior league basketball program.

In other action, the council:

•Brought the TIF redevelopment plan for the East Jasper TIF district up to date.

•Approved commissioner Bob Boyer’s motion to hire a new fire fighter and the fire department’s purchases with approximately $17,987 from the Foreign Fire Fund, paid by fire insurance companies.

•Approved $500 from the Hotel/Motel Tax fund for advertising the Taste of Edgar County event.

•Approved the by-laws of the Fine Arts Oversight Committee – a city-appointed management board for the public use of the Paris Center of Fine Arts auditorium.

•Purchased a light bar for a water-sewer department truck for $2,537.