The Hope Street School, a landmark of Woonsocket’s Constitution Hill neighborhood and a building on the National Register of Historic Places, had been closed since 1977 when NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley (NWBRV) proposed to renovate and revive the vacant and deteriorating space. In collaboration with neighborhood residents and the Historic Preservation Commission, NWBRV was able to move forward with plans to convert the school into a community facility that once again could meet the needs of an area with high levels of economic distress by housing a child care center, community programs, and office space.
“LISC’s financial and technical assistance was absolutely critical to the success of the Hope Street Family Center project.
Their expertise in design, connecting us to potential funders (including Rosie O’Donnell !), business planning, navigating the licensing process and providing the right financing at the right time has made all the difference in our success in delivering a top notch facility to the community.
We’d never tackled the development of a childcare center project before, but LISC gave us all the tools and the confidence to make it happen !”
The facility, upon completion, was leased to Connecting for Children and Families (CCF), a well-respected local non-profit that provides a variety of family service programs. CCF’s child care program at the Hope Street School provides a safe, nurturing environment for some of the community’s most at risk population, young children from low-income homes. What was previously a blighting influence in the neighborhood is now a vital community resource and a highly visible mark of the area’s revitalization thanks to the efforts of NWBRV.
With a total development cost of $5,700,000, the project faced challenges in securing financing. In addition to investment by Bank of America, Rhode Island LISC provided a $95,000 recoverable grant and an $850,000 loan for construction to permanent financing to fill a gap in project fundraising efforts. A $4,400,000 LISC New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation mixed equity and debt- the equity being used to obtain state and federal historic tax credits.
- 14,200 sq. ft. of Community Space
- New child care services for 104 children, ages infant to 12
- Organizational offices for a non –profit child care organization
- 35 Permanent Jobs created