A groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday celebrated a major step forward in a long-range, multiphased Cooper Landing senior housing construction project that one day will serve independent seniors as well as those needing full-time nursing care.
On hand with shovels were Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, District R Sen. Gary Stevens, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President Gary Superman, Ed Oberts, assistant to borough Mayor Dale Bagley, and more than 50 supporters of the Cooper Landing Senior Citizen Corp. project.
"It was a wonderful day," said Jacque Greenman, chair of the corporation's building and site committee.
Though the ceremony was held Tuesday, work already is under way on the first phase of the project. The foundation for a six-unit independent living apartment complex has been constructed and a road to the site built.
The apartment complex should be ready for occupancy by the end of June next year, Greenman said.
Meanwhile, a $71,000 state grant approved by state lawmakers earlier this year will help complete final work on the access road off Snug Harbor Road, which will be maintained by the borough, and connect electrical utilities, she said.
The assembly is expected to approve that grant when it acts on Ordinance 2005-19-12 at the Aug. 16 assembly meeting.
A public hearing is to be held on the $71,000 transfer, which follows a $75,000 grant approved by the Legislature last year.
If the ordinance passes, the borough would amend its contract with the Cooper Landing seniors making the money immediately available to the project.
The housing project itself is to be built on 12.5 acres of land in the Snug Harbor Road area sold by the borough to the senior corporation earlier this year for $94,000.
The six-unit apartment complex will be followed over time by other campus facilities for independent living, assisted living, nursing and central facilities.
Financing has been acquired through the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.
Demand for senior housing is likely to fill the six-unit, Phase-I project. A market analysis done last year showed that within a six-mile radius of Cooper Landing there were 118 residents age 50 or older, representing 39.8 percent of the local population.
About 84 of those are over 60.
Phase II, to be built sometime between 2007 and 2009, would include six more independent living units and a 30,000-square-foot senior center that would include a kitchen, dining room, lounge area, offices, a stage, an exercise room with a therapy tub, and multipurpose classrooms. Phase II would include a detached maintenance shop of 2,400 square feet.
Phase III, planned for 2009-2011, would include six more independent living unites and eight units for assisted living. Into the future, plans call for the implementation of Phase IV, which would include 12 more independent living units in two buildings, and Phase V, which would be a 12-bed, skilled nursing/long-term care facility.
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