Archive of Prominent Section 106 Cases:
Massachusetts: AHEPA-Daughters of Penelope Elderly Housing Project (Peabody)
The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and the Daughters of Penelope Chapter 120 propose to construct an assisted living complex in Peabody, Massachusetts, with funding assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD has reserved $4.8 million from its Section 202 program to support the project. However, the project may be in jeopardy for want of $40,000 to fund archeological mitigation.
In 1997, in accordance with HUD requirements, the project sponsors provided information on the project to the Massachusetts State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), who determined that the project was unlikely to affect historic properties. Shortly thereafter, however, a concerned citizen pointed out that the proposed site of the project's parking lot had been the location of an historic pottery factory. In response, the SHPO contacted HUD and indicated the need for archeological investigation of the property. Such investigation was funded by the project sponsors, leading to a determination that the Osborn-Read-Paige Pottery Site is eligible for the National Register.
The site contains archeological features associated with a series of redware pottery manufacturers dating from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries. Several vocal citizen advocates would like the site to be preserved and interpreted in situ. However, HUD, the Massachusetts SHPO, and Council staff agree that redesign of the parking lot to avoid the site is impossible, and that implementation of a data recovery plan would be appropriate mitigation. The problem remains how to fund the work within the project's time constraints.
Data recovery would cost an estimated $40,000, but the project sponsors are non-profit organizations with limited financial resources and do not have sufficient funds. Council staff met with HUD, the SHPO, and the project sponsor, but this consultation did not reveal a mechanism for HUD to fund the work, either within the context of the Section 202 program or other HUD funding sources. In the meantime, the option on the property will expire on January 31, and the owner has indicated an unwillingness to extend it if this issue is unresolved.
This case highlights the potential problems inherent in the structure and implementation of HUD's Section 202 grant program. In this competitive program, projects without cultural resource compliance issues are preferred, and there are few (if any) provisions for dealing with unexpected contingencies involving Section 106 compliance.
Regional HUD representatives are exploring funding options with HUD headquarters, and we are awaiting their response.
Staff contact: Druscilla Null
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