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Casa Grande upgrades better life for over 100
Life has gotten better for the 100 low-income families renting units at Casa Grande Apartments, in east Ceres, which are being rehabilitated inside and out.

Last week construction crews were erecting carport structures that will also double as stands for solar energy panels.

"This will be the first one in Ceres like that," noted Senior Planner Tom Westbrook of the city of Ceres. "You will see this is in jurisdictions but it hasn't happened here until now."

Jay Samuel, vice president of Intercontinental Affordable Housing, said his non-profit firm will keep Casa Grande offering as Section 8 rents rather than market rents. He said the rehabilitation effort means Casa Grande could remain a viable place to live for another 30 years.

The company has rehabilitated 100 apartment unit interiors that were constructed in 1971 on Della Street at Whitmore Avenue. The units received new paint, roofs, kitchens, appliances and carpet. Outside the units improvements have included new landscaping and security fencing.

The work has been funded but the Intercontinental seek reimbursement from the state, said Westbrook. Although the city of Ceres has no financial obligations to the project, the state required the city to hold a public hearing and approve the issuance of up to $2 million in California Statewide Communities Development Authority of Multifamily Housing Revenue Bonds. The hearing was held June 19 with no input. The action allows Intercontinental to apply for tax-exempt revenue bonds for financing.

The work is costing approximately $32,000 per unit.