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Fri., Oct. 9
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State denies funding for Cambray senior housing in Gouverneur


GOUVERNEUR — The plan to demolish and replace most of Cambray Court with a three-story building has been delayed for at least a year because the state declined to fund the project.

“I was disappointed,” said Mayor Ronald P. McDougall, who is also president of Cambray Housing Corp. “However, we have a plan. We’re not planning on giving up. It’s just a good thing for the community.”

Approval by New York State Homes & Community Renewal was necessary for the project to be eligible for tax credits, which was a major part of its financing.

Mr. McDougall and Paul C. Kruger, Omni Housing Development, informed residents of Cambray of the decision by letter.

The rejection comes at a time when the need for a modern alternative to Cambray is particularly apparent. The housing complex, which is mostly for senior citizens, is made up of a number of individual buildings, including one that sits on a flood plain. Forty of Cambray’s 100 apartments were evacuated for two days this week because of floodwaters rising from the Oswegatchie River. The residents were allowed to return home Friday afternoon as the swollen Oswegatchie receded and crews kept pumping out water from basements.

The water caused some damage, but nothing that makes the housing dangerous for residents, Mr. McDougall said.

Cambray needs other renovations. It has electric heat, which is expensive. The design requires residents to go outside if they want to visit someone in another building or if they want to go to the office. Handicapped accessibility is limited as there are no elevators to second floors.

Cambray and Omni had planned to demolish all but three buildings in a first phase of construction and put up a building with 72 units. The three remaining buildings of the original Cambray were to be replaced in a second phase.

The developer and Cambray will submit a new application to in the fall.

In the meantime, Cambray and Omni will meet with Homes & Community Renewal to learn why the application was declined.

Johnson Newspapers writer Amanda Purcell contributed to this report.

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