Heritage Woods homeowners moving in
KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine — Members of the Kennebunkport Heritage Housing Trust will hand over the keys Friday, July 30, to the new owners of the home the organization built on Tiger Lily Way in its mission to provide affordable housing in the community.
And for all the new home offers — a spacious living room and kitchen; three bedrooms; two-and-a-half bathrooms; ample storage space; and tall, wide windows that fill the rooms with light — it’s the memories that will be made inside the place that the owners are looking forward to the most.
“As we settle into our new home, we are most looking forward to creating new family traditions, lasting memories and being a part of such a wonderful community,” the owners said in a statement provided Wednesday by KHHT member Sarah Dore.
Dore stood at the front door at 3 Tiger Lily Way in Heritage Woods and welcomed members of the press and public as they arrived for a tour of the new house on Wednesday afternoon. Inside, fellow board member Patrick Clancy greeted the visitors and led them through each room on both floors.
Clancy explained KHHT’s goal was to build the home in a cost-effective way that provided a quality product. He said the organization went with the firm KBS Builders, of South Paris, as the contractor because it was a Maine business but also because — unlike a lot of companies that manufacture modular homes — it works with the plan its client presents.
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“It’s been a work of many hands to make this happen,” Clancy said. “Part of what you see here, in terms of the basic design, is an attempt to really create light and air, to take advantage of the natural surroundings — create spaces that you can get comfortable in, but have a flow to the home that is really to today’s standards.”
Downstairs, visitors circled a kitchen table adorned with flowers, noted the daylight admitted by the windows, and peeked inside storage spaces.
Upstairs, Clancy pointed out a little area in the hallway — complete with a view of trees and a new, neighboring duplex outside — that he said would be perfect for sitting in a chair and reading or working at a desk.
“It could be a million things,” he said.
Visitors roamed in and out of the three bedrooms, marveling at the walk-in closet space and checking out the views from windows.
Susan Mosher, a KHHT donor, took a moment by the windows to survey the back yard. She said she supports the organization’s mission, calling it a “great idea.”
“The housing market is too competitive for people,” she said.
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Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie Smith, a KHHT member, said she was impressed and awed by the organization’s work and by the volunteer hours and donations that helped the project to succeed.
“This was nothing but hard work,” she said. “It is a dream come true to see families being able to afford to move in here, especially when housing expenses have increased dramatically from when we started.”
A cause for celebration
KHHT will mark its second anniversary as an official nonprofit organization with an event this Thursday, Aug. 5, that will include music, food, a Bounce House and games for children, and fireworks by Central Maine Pyrotechnics. The event — billed as the Heritage Housing Trust Scoop-Off — will be held at Parson’s Field, right next to Kennebunkport Consolidate School, from 5 to 8 p.m. The fireworks will start at 8:10 p.m.
Dore said KHHT has much to celebrate: in addition to closing on its first home on Friday, the organization has five other home projects that are well underway and anticipated to be completed on time by the end of the year.
“We are so grateful for the amount of support that we have received from so many in the community and wanted an opportunity to celebrate and thank everyone,” Dore said. “We hope this fun summer event will show our appreciation.”
Aunt Marie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Big Daddy’s, Goose Rocks Dairy, Rococo Ice Cream and Shaker Pond all will be bringing their flavors to the scoop-off.
Local rock band Nomadic Grooves will provide the entertainment. Musette, Texas Grace Kitchen, and The Baked Bean will be on hand with their food trucks.
Alisson’s Restaurant, The Nonantum Resort, and Norway Savings Bank are sponsoring the festivities.
The owners of the first KHHT home summed up the cause for celebration when they spoke in an email this week about moving into their new home.
“KHHT made our family’s dream come true,” they said. “It’s been an amazingly fast and easy process and we can’t thank KHHT and the Kennebunkport community enough for bringing their vision to fruition. We are so very grateful.”
The KHHT mission
The KHHT officially formed in 2019 for the purpose of acquiring land and properties on which to build permanently affordable homes in the community. The organization is providing ongoing stewardship of its properties, using a ground-leasing model to ensure perpetual affordability.
Its goal? To build 25 local affordable homes by 2025.
The first six homes comprise the first phase of the project: a new neighborhood called Heritage Woods.
KHHT accepted applications for these first six homes earlier this year. According to Dore, the process attracted more than 30 inquiries and resulted in the organization’s selection of the six future homeowners.
At the time, Dore cited statistics explaining why year-round affordable housing is “desperately needed” in Kennebunkport. She said the popularity of the Kennebunkport community — with its ocean shores, shops, restaurants and galleries — has led to a 106% housing cost increase, from $234,200 to $481,600, since 2000. At the same time, she said, incomes have only increased by 41%, from $54,200 to $76,600, in town.
When KHHT started taking shape in 2018 the median sale price for a non-waterfront home was $482,500, Dore added, putting Kennebunkport “out of financial reach for young families looking to move back home, and seniors looking to downsize.”
Eighty percent of Kennebunkport’s workforce commute into town from neighboring communities, and only 56% of property owners in Kennebunkport live in the community year-round, Dore added. That percentage continues to grow, she said. These statistics also have created low enrollment rates at Kennebunkport Consolidated School, which students in grades K through 5 attend.
Fundraising continues for KHHT’s overall mission. To donate, visit online at www.khht.com. The organization can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.