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North Country Housing office will be renovated

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CANTON — Construction could restart soon on the Main Street headquarters of the North Country Housing Council, which has been vacant since it was gutted because of mold.

“We want it to be this fall,” Housing Council interim Executive Director Alan S. Hipps said. “It’s all indoor work.”

The Housing Council, which administers grants and assists with home rehabilitation and first-time buyers, moved its employees out of 19 Main St. on Sept. 29, 2010, after a number of them became ill from mold spores.

Renovations began in the winter of 2012 but were halted short of completion due to a lack of funding.

The Housing Council will use a $148,000 grant obtained through the state’s Rural Area Revitalization Program and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to complete the construction, which will include offices on the first floor of the building and two one-bedroom apartments on the second floor.

The funding package includes a 25 percent local match.

Bids from contractors have been received but not awarded yet.

“We might have to tweak the scope of work a little bit,” Mr. Hipps said. “Our financing is in place.”

The renovations will include offices for the Housing Council’s six employees, including Mr. Hipps, and a homeownership center where prospective buyers will take classes. The room will include higher-end audio visual equipment.

The work will be geared to environmentally sound materials.

“We’re not expecting any big surprises,” Mr. Hipps said. “It was all gutted right down to the wall studs.”

The staff is looking forward to returning to their headquarters after being in a rented office at 49 Main St., he said.

“It’ll make our annual budget easier and the staff will be more comfortable,” Mr. Hipps said.

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