The Middletown Township Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to acquire a blighted commercial property on Leonardville Road in Belford and to build 10-20 affordable housing units for veterans in partnership with the Middletown Housing Authority.
The property at 37-45 Leonardville Road, across the street from the Carvel Ice Cream store, was previously the home of Middletown Tool Rental and a gas station before that. It has been vacant and overgrown for roughly 20 years. The Township acquired a certification from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection that the property is not contaminated prior to approving the acquisition.
“The Township Committee and I are excited about the prospect of turning a blighted property in Campbell’s Junction into affordable housing units deemed solely for the honorable men and women who have served our Nation,” said Mayor Tony Perry.
The Township intends to partner with Middletown Housing Authority who currently manages hundreds of affordable housing units in town. “Once the Township closes on the property, the plan is to demolish the existing building, clean up the site and place a rendering of the proposed project in that location for community members to see in time for Memorial Day,” explained Mayor Perry.
While Middletown recently withdrew from the affordable housing court proceedings due to the unrealistic and ever-increasing demands imposed by the Fair Share Housing Center, the Township Committee is a firm supporter of investing in affordable housing projects that make sense. “We will always step up to create affordable housing for those in need of assistance, especially our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Mayor Perry. “We encourage other municipalities to follow suit.”
Perry told MMM that the purchase price is $340,000 and that veterans who reside in Middletown will have first crack at the affordable rentals units. If there are still vacancies after Middletown vets apply, the apartments will be opened up to veterans living elsewhere in Monmouth County.
The project will be funded by the Township’s Affordable Housing Trust fund, Perry said.