Work begins on senior housing

Posted: Friday, May 21, 2004

Construction has begun on new independent living apartments for senior citizens in Sterling.

Although an official groundbreaking ceremony is planned for Sunday, ground clearing and the installation of foundation footings already have been completed for a 10-unit, single-story apartment building due east of the Sterling Senior Center on the Sterling Highway.

The building will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments renting at $675 and $750, respectively. They should be ready for occupancy by Oct. 7, according to Judy Warren, executive director of the senior center, which will manage the property.

Each unit will include a complete kitchen and individual laundry facilities.

Warren said the apartments will be handicap accessible, and two of the units will be fully equipped for residents with disabilities.

The fully equipped apartments will have wider doorways to accommodate people in wheelchairs and will have showers that wheelchairs can be driven into, Warren said. Also, cabinets will have handles positioned for easy reach by people in wheelchairs.

The new building is one of two 10-unit independent living apartment buildings the senior center plans to build at the site. Construction on the second one is scheduled to begin in about two years.

The Sterling senior housing is being built in part with the help of a $158,307 planning and design grant from the Kenai Peninsula Borough and a $596,911 grant for construction from Alaska Housing Finance Corp., Warren said.

Parking spaces will be provided for residents.

"We hope to have enough money for a covered carport," she said.

Tenants will be required to sign one-year rental agreements with the senior center, and Warren said 12 people already are on a waiting list for the 10 apartments.

"We haven't even started advertising," she said.

In addition to the two apartment buildings planned for the east side of the senior center, plans also are in the works for a 10-unit assisted living center on the west side, a senior fitness center with a swimming pool and adult day-care facility.

The senior center is working to acquire two lots west of the center for the assisted living building, according to Warren.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the first apartment building will be at 3 p.m. Sunday and plans call for a reception with cookies and coffee. Warren said a number of dignitaries have been invited to take part in the ceremony.

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