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Fate of Meadow Street property uncertain

Date: 1/4/2011

Jan. 5, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

AGAWAM — The future of the 36-unit Meadow Street apartment complex rendered uninhabitable by a Nov. 21 fire is anyone's guess.

According to Jelani Miller, public affairs specialist with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), only seven residents have applied for low-interest disaster loans thus far and only one for $17,000 has been approved. SBA Administrator Karen Mills made the loans available to residents of 408 - 410 Meadow St. on Dec. 8, per Gov. Deval Patrick's request on Dec. 2.

"We just want the community to recover any way they can, with or without the assistance of the federal government," Miller said. "But we do want them to know that these funds are available to them."

Loans totaling a maximum of $40,000 are available to residents to replace damaged or destroyed property, Frank Skaggs, director of SBA's Field Operations Center East in Atlanta, Ga., noted.

"Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority," Mills said.

Several attempts by Reminder Publications to contact Paul Abrahamson, owner of the Meadow Street properties, to inquire as to when the area would be inhabitable were not returned.

According to Mayor Richard Cohen and Emergency Management Director Chet Nicora, the town is still doing everything possible to assist the victims. Cohen noted several residents attended a free lunch at the Senior Center on Dec. 21, where they received additional care packages.

Cohen said he advised the victims of the fire that they are welcome to a free meal at the center anytime.

"We'll help them in any way we can. This is a whole community effort," he added.

Disaster victims are eligible to apply for SBA low-interest loans to cover property damage through Feb. 7. Those seeking to gain assistance for economic injury must submit their application by Sept. 7, 2011.

For applications, contact the SBA at (800) 659-2955, visit or send an e-mail to

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