The unique design of the project is intended to get seniors to socialize, Koumoutsos said.
“It’s really meant to be a place where not only can you have a good place and a safe place to live but a place where you can really thrive … So many of our aging seniors are lonely,” she said.
The architect for the project, Stephen Sharp, said he designed it while keeping in mind where he’d like to live when he retires.
“You don’t want people to feel isolated,” Sharp said, “and so this is a gentle tool to make life really good for the people who want to live here.”
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Gloria Garrison is No. 32 on the wait-list for Community Gardens.
“I just love the area that it’s going to be in and the security,” Garrison said. “I have a garage, two bedrooms.”
She’s excited about the design of the neighborhood as well.
“I love that,” she said, “because I think the older folks need to be together and to enjoy one another and help one another.”
The more than 200 person wait-list shows just how much developments like this one is needed, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said.
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“We could have another one somewhere and there’d be plenty of people to live in it,” he said. “We have a whole lot of folks who need housing and who need housing which makes it easier for them to get the services they need.”
The neighborhood will be next door to a nurse practitioner’s office where the seniors can get medical care, Koumoutsos said.
It was a hard-fought battle to get state tax credits to finance the project, she said. The application was denied last year so the Neighborhood Housing Partnership partnered with other groups, like the Buckeye Hope Community Foundation and NeighborWorks America and applied again. It was rejected again but then the state reconsidered its application and This time it was approved.
“A lot of blood sweat and tears … It’s worth it because we’re here and we made it,” she said.
By the numbers:
200 — people on the wait-list for the new development
50 — units to be built in the first phase of construction
$9 million — cost of the senior housing development
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has followed efforts to get this development built since the first application was submitted and first denied in the summer of 2016. Its also covered other moves by the Neighborhood Housing Partnership, including a recent grant awarded to make repairs to 24 Clark County homes.