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Center City Meriden Reimagined, Including Affordable Housing!

Center City Meriden Reimagined, Including Affordable Housing!

It’s been 20 years in the making, but an exciting new center city is emerging in Meriden. What started out as a project to address flooding and brownfield issues, has snowballed into park-like remake of downtown Meriden, complete with sprawling outdoor public spaces, storefronts for shopping and dining, and–most significantly–mixed-income housing.

If ever a state needed more affordable housing, it’s Connecticut. Right now more than 45 percent of the state’s renters pay more than one-third of their income on housing. That means scarce resources for other necessities and scant savings in case of emergencies.

Two new blocks of housing, Meriden Commons I and II, will include a total of 170 units with 20 percent of those reserved for low-income renters. To qualify for an affordable rent, residents must earn at or below 80 percent of New Haven area median income. That’s 34 new units of affordable housing!  And it is only one of four mixed-use, transit-oriented development projects that are transforming the city’s downtown, adding more than 600 units of mixed-income housing.

Many communities are now employing this more equitable distribution of affordable housing, rejecting the decades-old model of housing developments exclusively for low-income families. The emphasis is now also on creating more inclusive communities, where people of all income levels have equal access to community conveniences.

While concrete data on the benefits of such as model has not yet been gathered, benefits for low-income renters in a development such as Meriden Green are expected to be:

  • Better proximity to public transportation and less need to rely on a personal automobile.
  • More convenient access to necessities, such as grocery stores and drug stores.
  • Safer places for children to play outdoors.
  • Reduced stress on all family members, whether because of safety concerns, budget woes, or inability to easily access needed services.

Meriden’s transformation is just getting underway. Check out all it will have to offer residents.