Willimantic receives state bonding dollars for affordable housing downtown

Thanks to a $2.5 million state bond allocation to the Connecticut Department of Housing, affordable housing will be coming to Willimantic.

This project will help fund several affordable housing units in the historic Murray building in Downtown Willimantic. Construction is currently underway for completion in 2023.

On Aug. 25, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and Department of Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno joined State Sen. Mae Flexer, State Rep. Susan Johnson, Windham Mayor Tom DeVivo and Murray on Main, LLC for a press conference to announce the allocation.

Located in the heart of Willimantic on Main Street, the Murray on Main building, also known as the Hurley Building, dates to1894. The building, built by Hugh Clark Murray, Willimantic’s leading mercantile, industrialist, and banker, sits on the corner of Main and Church streets.

Murray opened his business as the “Boston Store” and later named it H. C. Murray Co. The Murray name is engraved in the brownstone.

After hosting a department store and later a gymnastics business, the Murray building is currently closed and has fallen into disrepair.

The historic renovation planned for the building is expected to both revitalize downtown and create affordable housing for the City of Willimantic, with 20 units of rental housing,16 income-restricted as affordable, planned.

“Gov. Lamont and I are dedicated to supporting projects like these, as one of our goals in Connecticut is to increase affordable housing stock for families and working individuals,” said Bysiewicz, as state and local dignitaries gathered to celebrate the project.

“This money is part of the State Bonding Commission’s most recent agenda, which is generally directed to local nonprofits, governments, and state agencies seeking funding to support a variety of projects across Connecticut,” continued Bysiewicz. “This particular project is scheduled to be completed in 2023 and will make Downtown Willimantic a more vibrant and livelier place to be, while driving business to local restaurants and small businesses.”

“For me, this project has been a focus, working through the small details, to make sure that we were able to walk through the process smoothly and get to where we are today,” said Mosquera-Bruno.

“This is not just a success for the department but for Windham County, and I want to thank the governor, lieutenant governor, and our legislators for the support,” continued Mosquera-Bruno.

Flexer noted that housing is the biggest crisis currently being faced.

“Those of us in northeastern Connecticut know that we are a more affordable place than many other areas of the state, but so many of our neighbors are in a housing crisis. So whatever kind of investment we can be making with public dollars to projects like these, I support,” said Flexer.