LYONS, N.Y. (WROC) — After coverage of the Canalside saga, the State Department of Homes and Community Renewal got involved. They worked with non-profit Providence Housing as a possible candidate to come in take over ownership of the park. Providence provides affordable housing for the 12 counties within the Diocese of Rochester.
“(Canalside Residents) are victims, truly,” says Mark Greisbereger, Executive Director of Providence Housing. “I was very surprised people were living in those conditions,” he says.
Greisberger says Providence can certainly own and operate the park, the problem is redeveloping it. “I guess the word is ‘deplorable’,” he says talking about the conditions at the park.
He says redeveloping will need serious funding from Albany.
“The state pretty much has made that commitment, not officially yet,” adds Greisberger.
Greisberger says that includes putting in new homes, regrading the property, repaving the pothole riddled roads, repairing the drainage system, fixing the raw sewage problem, and tidying up the electric work.
“The major work will start next spring when the weather breaks,” he says.
For residents at Canalside, the possibility of Providence Housing taking over is a welcome thought. But after what they’ve been through, they aren’t holding their breath.
“Honestly at this point, it sounds a little too good to be true. I want to say I have trust in (Providence), but I don’t know them,” says resident Nichole Foote.
“I really hope they’re going to improve things, but I’m a little skeptical because nothing is completely set in stone yet,” adds resident Melissa Lehr.
Greisberger says given the chance, Providence Housing will make things right. “Everyone is entitled to a decent home. If there’s an underlying philosophy, you ought not be living in squalor,” he says.
Current owner/operator of the park, Cory Provenzano, says he’s excited about the possibility of Providence Housing and Albany coming in to take the reins. Provenzano issued the following statement:
“I firmly believe that the state has the time energy and resources to provide the tenants with the quality of living environment that they require. The low income housing program that they have within their organization is exactly what this park needs. The tenants have a very difficult time paying rent and they need a lot of resources that the state can and will be providing to them.”-Cory Provenzano
Greisberger says the state will vote on helping to fund the Providence/Canalside park move on December 12.