Howard receives $300,000 from the state to buy land

Grant money to be used to boost affordable housing

October 30, 2002|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Howard County's efforts to buy land for more affordable housing got a boost yesterday in the form of a $300,000 state Community Legacy Grant.

"We'll take this lump sum and put it right into the land," said Neil J. Gaffney, deputy county housing administrator.

The award, announced by Gov. Parris N. Glendening at a housing conference in Baltimore, is the second installment of a funding request the county made last year. The state provided a grant of $125,000 in December, which was used, along with other funds, to buy land in Jessup, where detached homes costing about $150,000 each will be built in 2006.

The county is looking for more land along U.S. 1. The hope is to build more affordable housing for civil servants and middle-income families who are priced out of the real estate market in Howard - up more than 20 percent in the past year.

With Glendening leaving office in January, the state awarded the money in a lump sum, rather than over time. It is part of $15.5 million awarded to jurisdictions statewide as part of the Smart Growth program to rebuild older communities.

"One of the most important concepts of our Smart Growth program is to give local governments and community groups the tools to revitalize neighborhoods and encourage growth in areas that already have the roads, utilities and schools to serve new residents," Glendening said.

Howard officials see the U.S. 1 corridor as a good place to attract businesses that can transform the old highway from a repository of old motels and fringe businesses into a new economic engine, with housing people can afford.

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