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Council debates support for senior apartment complex

Plans to support a senior citizens complex in a park northeast of downtown Lawton have been put on hold by the City Council.

While council members voted in early January to lease up to 4 acres in O.H. Arnold Park to Cornerstone Associates for the project, objections and questions last week about those development plans from council members, the mayor and apartment complex owners prompted the council to table action on the next step in the process: a resolution of support that Cornerstone will use in its application for Oklahoma Affordable Housing Tax Credits from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency.

Mayor Stan Booker said it was worth waiting for a community analysis and suggestions of help from the finance agency before making a decision on Cornerstone’s plan.

About $2 million in tax credits will make the 42-unit complex feasible, Cornerstone officials say, and a resolution of support will help the firm gain points in its application for the tax credits. If built, the three-story “affordable living” apartment complex will be restricted to senior citizens whose annual incomes are 50 or 60 percent of the city’s median income.

Cornerstone President Bobbie Jo Lucas said she and her firm deliberately selected O.H. Arnold Park because of the amenities the park would provide, its proximity to the new public safety facility (which will contain Central Fire Station and Lawton Police Department) and public transportation, and nearby churches, community center and other community amenities. The site is in a qualified census tract and an opportunity zone, which will increase the likelihood the project will receive tax credits when other affordable housing proposals in Lawton haven’t made the cut, Lucas said.

The Lawton Constitution

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