Evensons give land for senior housing in Nikiski

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2004

A project to build a housing complex for seniors in Nikiski moves one step closer to reality with the donation today of the land the units will be built on.

The six-plus acres off Holt-Lamplight Road on Marie Lake that will be the site of the project are being officially donated today by long-time Nikiski Senior Center members Jim and Nedra Evenson.

The Evensons decided to donate the land -- part of 160 acres they homesteaded in 1958 -- because they felt the site originally proposed for the complex wasn't pretty enough.

"With all the beautiful land in North Kenai, we decided they should have lake frontage," said Nedra Evenson.

The project is planned to include six to 11 handicapped-accessible units where seniors can live independently in the company of other seniors, according to Leigh Hagstrom-Sanger, program administrator for the Nikiski Senior Center.

A big reason to build the complex is to allow seniors who want to downsize from a house to an apartment to remain in Nikiski, Hag-strom-Sanger said. At present, there is no housing in Nikiski built with seniors' needs in mind, so seniors who downsize have to move to Kenai or beyond.

"We're trying to build housing so people can stay were they've been living the past 40 to 50 years," she said. "We want people to be able to age in place."

The units will be rented at fair market value; however, it could be some time before the apartments are ready for their first tenants.

"We're trying to build as quickly as possible, but we have to be realistic," Hagstrom-Sanger said.

With the paperwork and studies involved, she guessed the project could take up to five years to complete.

The deed for the donated land will be transferred at an informal ceremony from 6 to 8 tonight at the Nikiski Senior Center. The Kenai Dixie Land Jazz Band will perform.

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