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Public Post is a community reporting initiative using digital tools to report on cities and towns across Vermont.Public Post is the only resource that lets you browse and search documents across dozens of Vermont municipal websites in one place.Follow reporter Amy Kolb Noyes and #PublicPost on Twitter and read news from the Post below.

New Life For A Morrisville Landmark

Since the early 1970s, Arthur’s Department Store dominated Morrisville’s Lower Main Street. And when Arthur and Theresa Breault decided to retire at the end of 2010, it left a big hole in the downtown.

The three old buildings that made up the department store were eventually bought by Lamoille Housing Partnership and Housing Vermont. Those two organizations, and a long list of partners, promised to breathe new life back into the buildings. This week, a little more than a year after renovations began, tenants have begun moving into 18 mixed income apartments.

One of the three buildings was torn down, creating tenant parking and a courtyard. A New York-style pizza restaurant is slated to move in to one of the two remaining street-level retail spaces. And work is just wrapping up on the other vacant storefront.

Lamoille Housing Partnership is a nonprofit private sector developer that works with a coalition of statewide housing organizations and private investors. Executive Director Jim Lovinsky says, while the apartments are affordable, they are not low-income public housing.

"This isn’t public housing, it is affordable housing," he said. "And we do it through the funding mechanisms. We do this tax credit program. We have investors and they’re putting their money up ahead of time in return for credits on their taxes."

Lovinsky says Lamoille Housing Partnership’s mission is to provide safe and affordable housing for Vermonters. And it’s something he says is needed in Morrisville, and across Vermont.

"As land values go up, housing costs are going up, rents are increasing, but incomes are not keeping up," said Lovinsky.

And while the affordable apartments will benefit several local residents, Lovinsky says the renovated retail spaces will be a boon to the entire Morrisville community.