Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury get affordable housing grants

Oak Bluffs will turn 82 Pennacook Ave., formerly Conroy’s Apothecary, into two affordable rental apartments with the help of a $97,000 state grant.

Updated April 8 

The towns of Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury were awarded housing choice grants from the state to build affordable housing units. The grants help Massachusetts cities and towns meet specific housing production goals.

Oak Bluffs was awarded $97,000, which will be used to create two rental units in the commercial space of the Noyes Building at 82 Pennacook Ave. The vacant, town-owned building was formerly occupied by Conroy’s Apothecary for 10 years before it closed in November 2019. Before that, the building was the former home of the town’s library since the 1930s.

The grant funding supports the design, engineering, professional services, and permitting of the project. The units will include a one-bedroom and a studio affordable rental apartment. The project will be managed by The Resource Inc. (TRI).

Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee chair Mark Leonard told The Times that once built, the units will be awarded from a lottery through the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, and will be deed-restricted for those 80 percent or below the Dukes County area median income which in 2020 for Dukes County was $58,720 for one person.

“We’re hoping construction will start late summer, early fall,” Leonard said. “With COVID and the increase in demand for housing, we’re trying to get more opportunities out there for people to move into. It’s one of those things we’re pressing and doing all that we can.”

West Tisbury was awarded $100,000 in grant funding toward a project that will create two permanently affordable rental apartments on town land off Old Courthouse Road, with a 51-year ground lease by the town to the Island Housing Trust.

The project involves demolishing the town’s old firehouse, which was approved by both the town select board and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.

Both grants were part of more than $5 million in capital grants given to 28 Massachusetts communities committed to housing production. Both West Tisbury and Oak Bluffs were given housing choice designation.

Updated to correct area median income (AMI). — Ed.