Liberty Square apartments a 'much-needed' addition to Batavia
The ribbon is cut, but Liberty Square, 554 East Main St., Batavia, has been serving as a residence for as many as 28 veterans since December, and for Zach Fuller, executive director of Eagle Star Housing, that is "mission accomplished."
"Our mission is getting veterans back on their feet back into the community and interacting with the community," Fuller said.
Liberty Square is a collaborative project between Home Leasing, LLC, based in Rochester, and Eagle Star, with financial assistance from the State of New York through Homes and Community Renewal.
"We started the program for transitional 60-day programs, but we knew that if the veteran didn't have anywhere really to go from a transitional housing situation they would face difficulty and not have support services," Fuller said. "Working with New York State and the governor's office and HCR, where they came out with a program a few years ago with a housing-first model that allows us to get our veterans into safe housing. From here we're able to provide support services for them 24/7. We provide them with apartment furniture, any type of toiletries, and day-to-day needs they have. We're here to help them. We're trying to do everything we can to keep them on their progress path back to stability and back into civilian life."
The complex cost $12 million and includes 39 additional one-bedroom apartments, and eight two-bedrooms targeting people with a household income of 60 percent of the area's median income.
City Council President Eugene Jankowski said the complex is a welcome addition to Batavia.
"Every study that the City and the County has done since 2010 has identified housing as one of our main needs," Jankowski said. "I realized what projects of this magnitude require. It's a lot of work by a lot of people. I was talking to Zach earlier and he said when this project started, his son was a newborn. And now he's five years old. So it goes to show you how long and how much perseverance it takes to get a project like this off the ground."
That perseverance is paying off, he said, because "for our veterans and those who qualify, these apartments are going to be a much-needed addition to the city. They're going to provide a safe and comfortable space to call home."
Photos by Howard Owens
A plaque in the rec room will honor Bill Mosman, the late owner of Mosman Paint, which stood on one of the properties now occupied by Liberty Square for more than six decades. Mosman served in the Navy during World War II.