Yet another reincarnation for a Town of Dennis, MA. property. A plot of land that in the way of community spirit and use seems to have just gotten stronger and better over its’ interesting history and with each renewal.
The celebration of a long awaited property redevelopment took place on Friday, October 16th, 2015 and was attended by many members of the community, along with quite a few representatives of both state offices and the non-profit sector.
Just a few among the throng of happy visitors who were spotted ushering in The Residences at Melpet Farm were Congressman William R. Keating, State Rep. Timothy Whalen, HAC CEO Rick Presbrey, and FORWARD President Kathy Ohman.
This unique building project consists of of 8 newly constructed residential buildings complete with solar and day-lighting design. The low imprint design places these two-story wood framed ‘traditional farm-house style’ buildings squarely at 57% more efficient than a code compliant building of the same size and proportion. But the true strength of the project would seem to lie in that these very attractive, amenable and efficient multiple apartment units are being offered up to households earning 60% or less of the AMI (Area Median Income).
Additionally, 25% of the units are “set aside” for those who are either experiencing or looking at the precipice of homelessness.
To this end, the fact that each of the 8 buildings offer up 3 to 4 units each, and a mix of 1, 2, & 3 bedroom apartments, as well as a Common Green, Community Building, and community laundry facilities on a setting of a rare and wonderful 6.4 Cape Cod acres, deems this project worthy of a hearty round of applause.
Hats-off to POAH (Preservation Of Affordable Housing) and their partners/sponsors HAC (Housing Assistance Corporation) for a well thought-out, progressive and attractively designed punch of a project that stands-and-delivers as part of a much needed solution to the Affordable Housing dilemma now facing not just one community, but an entire nation.
The site of this project at 812 East West Road (Rte 134) in Dennis, MA. also appears to hold-its’-own among the sentimental thoughts of both the Town and long-time community residents. It remains, stoically, in-tact and touting a charismatic history that includes use for more than one much loved community entertainment venue, a renowned 1950’s children’s TV show, as well as previous affordable housing structures.
The adjacent Town-owned barn and pastureland is reputed to have once been the site of “BOOMTOWN”, a long-time children’s television show starring none other than the much loved, much renowned, and very missed Rex Trailer. The popular TV show aired on Boston’s own WBZ TV from 1956 to 1974.
Although any formal information regarding intimate details of the TV program BOOMTOWN being filmed on-location in Dennis, MA. seemed evasive, Mr. Rex Trailer himself led a most fascinating and worthy life as a gentleman, true cowboy, strong advocate for community and children’s welfare, and all-around rare-to-find great guy. Among his many altruistic endeavors and personality traits which are now the stuff of legend, and are far too many to do justice to in this short space, is just one of his many unique stories - truly remarkable given the era and his interaction within the community. In 1959 Mr. Trailer led a wagon train across Massachusetts to raise awareness of children with disabilities.
Clearly, there is even more than meets-the-eye among this land’s storied past, at least according to long-time resident PJ Rainwater of Dennis, MA. PJ reported with fondness her memories of just one of the sites ‘past lives’.
“I loved to go there as a kid when it was ‘FRONTIER VALLEY’. There were horse-drawn stagecoaches, and simulated bank robberies complete with robbers and guns blaring.”
So, if the community and spirited Karma of this unique piece of land holds any indication of its’ future, perhaps this building site and the current new usefulness it has once again found will not only be a perfect match, but a very positive sign of many more projects like this one on-the-horizon.
If nothing else, I think it can be a certainty that Mr. Trailer would wholeheartedly approve of the site’s newly infused purpose.