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Watertown Housing Authority selects development partner to transform and revitalize its Willow Park property

March 18, 2024


The Watertown Housing Authority (WHA) announced this week that it will be partnering with the Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) to redevelop the Willow Park state public housing property located in East Watertown. The POAH team was selected earlier this month by the WHA’s Board of Commissioners and selection committee after reviewing the proposals. 

“I want to thank everyone on the pre-development team for their hard work. Our goal at the WHA has always been to preserve and maintain affordable housing. State public housing funding has been unable to address the needs of the property for decades and our Watertown families deserve better. I look forward to our partnership with POAH and am grateful to our city administrators, elected officials, Willow Park residents, and the surrounding community for their continued support.” said Michael Lara, WHA’s Executive Director.

POAH’s proposal is seeking to replace the 60 existing family apartments while also adding new affordable housing apartments that would be targeted to a mix of income ranges. The proposal also calls for enhanced amenities, open space, a more inviting connection to surrounding neighborhoods, and overall site accessibility which is currently lacking at the development.

 “We are honored to partner with the Watertown Housing Authority on the redevelopment of Willow Park. This important project will not only deliver 60 new, accessible and energy-efficient apartments for the current residents of Willow Park, we also hope to create a significant number of additional affordable apartments for a range of different residents and household types. This affordable, mixed-income property will offer new community spaces and outdoor recreation areas to both residents and the surrounding community. We look forward to our collaboration with the Watertown Housing Authority, Willow Park residents, and Watertown community members on this transformative project,” said Aaron Gornstein, President and CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc.

In the coming months, POAH and the WHA will begin to schedule meetings to receive resident, neighbor, and community leader input which is invaluable at this early stage in the process.

“As Watertown’s City Manager, and a member of the Affordable Housing Trust, I am committed to working with the Watertown Housing Authority to provide affordable housing opportunities in Watertown. The proposed Willow Park redevelopment has the potential to deliver new apartments for current residents while also opening up new affordable housing opportunities. POAH is a partner that has extensive experience working with existing public housing tenants and doing the hard work of financing complex affordable housing developments, thereby making them a great partner for WHA in this project. We look forward to working with POAH and WHA to refine this project, introduce the project and the team to the community, engage with the existing Willow Park residents, the neighbors and other stakeholders, address community benefits and impacts and work through a permitting process for a new Willow Park.”

Learn more about the project here