Instead of a funeral or reunion, the Seabury Co-op community was able to celebrate a survival anniversary – half a century after it opened.
In 2019, all seemed lost for the Elm and Howe Street housing co-op. Financial difficulties brought the cooperative to the verge of default and seizure. But the community rallied, converted the co-op’s 86 units to qualify for federal Section 8 rental subsidies, and returned to its financial footing.
Saturday’s celebration was planned by Zernona Snow, a board member and resident of eight years, as a way to bring the community together.
“We’ve been through some really tough times, so we’re hoping that celebrations like this, which really haven’t happened in the past, will help the community grow even stronger so we can have another 50 years of Seabury.” , Snow said. . (Click here to read a 2019 story about how the co-op came back from the brink of staggering debt, and here to read a 2019 story about an employee who stole residents’ checks.)
A wave of government-assisted co-ops sprang up in New Haven half a century ago. Some of them – like Dwight Co-ops, Antillean Manor, Ethan Gardens, Trade Union Plaza – failed and were bought up by private owners. Others, like Florence Virtue and Seabury, held on.
The community of Seabury has also eyed a $6-8 million redevelopment project over the next two to three years.
The celebration took place in the central greenery of the complex with a grill and a bouncy house for the children. Residents also cut a cake that read. “Happy 50th birthday Seabury.
Residents were eager to look to the future.
“Today is a day of pride and celebration. I have been here for 46 years. There have been a lot of changes, but we are still here,” said Maggie Todd. “The community has become a really good place to live for seniors like me because there are so many bus lines nearby and we are near downtown so people who work there can easily get around .
“I’ve been here for about eight years now, and I’ve seen changes. There are still issues for us all to be fully heard by the management team, but overall it’s a stable and safe place to live,” said Seabury resident Lisa Zellman.
The community plans a bowel detox to bring the complex “in the 21st century. »
According to Seabury Co-op Board Chair Patricia Parks-Taylor, the community is still working to secure funding for the project. The co-op seeks loans and grants from the State Department of Housing, the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
The management team representative and builder of this project, Al Gery, has already had plans drawn up, and the community is already working on re-roofing. In 2019, Seabury secured a $500,000 pre-development loan from Connecticut Green Bank to help organize a plan to secure more funding in the future, pay design and architectural fees to reduce costs. electricity costs and replacing the roofs and windows of buildings.
Seabury also plans to hire a new management team. Residents including Parks-Taylor said the community thinks it’s time to leave Faith Asset Management SARL. Parks-Taylor and Snow were grateful the management team had helped the co-op out of the red, but maintained there had been “breakdown of communications” thus requiring a change of direction.
“There have been issues with people really being heard during the decision-making process,” Zellman said.