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Senior citizen housing going up in Gary’s Emerson neighborhood

Volunteers AmericIndianPresident/CEO Tim Campbell left speaks during groundbreaking ceremony for low-income senior housing project Gary Tueasday May 1 2012. The

Volunteers of America of Indiana President/CEO Tim Campbell, left, speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for a low-income senior housing project in Gary Tueasday May 1, 2012. The planned development will include 39 housing units at the intersection of 5th and Carolina. VOA development director Jack Gordon is at right. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 3, 2012 8:16AM



GARY — More senior residents will have a shot at affordable housing in the city’s Emerson neighborhood when a new complex built exclusively for them is completed in the next 12 months.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, representatives with Alexandria, Va.-based national housing not-for-profit organization Volunteers of America and other people involved in getting The Gardens on Carolina, a three-story, 39-unit, independent living housing unit, off the ground dug in their shovels Tuesday morning at a groundbreaking. The one-bedroom, one-bath units will be available to residents 62 and older whose income meets the 50 percent or below poverty requirement.

The city started working on The Gardens in 2008, under former Mayor Rudy Clay and former Redevelopment Executive Director Vaness Dabney, whose help in procuring the donated 1.55-acre parcel at the corner of East 5th Avenue and Carolina Street was invaluable, according to Volunteers of America Development Director Jack Gordon. Freeman-Wilson agreed.

“This project is evidence of two things in particular: One is that we have a unique opportunity to really build on groundwork put for by the previous administration, and two, we have a new administration that’s going to continue to be responsive to private and public development,” she said. “When we can create these types of partnerships, there’s great potential when everyone works together.”

Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas, D-1st , whose district The Gardens of Carolina is in, said between it and the restoration of two neighborhood parks, Emerson is definitely an area to watch.

“Rebuilding neighborhoods has always been my goal, because cities are rebuilt through having strong neighborhoods,” Krusas said. “We have to reclaim the city neighborhood by neighborhood.”

The project is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provided a $5,464,200 grant toward its development, plus a $1.5 million rental subsidy. The rental subsidy will cover shortfalls for approximately three years, or once the complex is at full occupancy, said John Eubanks, supervising project manager with HUD out of Indianapolis.

Residents’ rents, meanwhile, will be 30 percent of their income, he said.

“Once occupancy is achieved, the complex becomes self-sustaining,” Eubanks said. “And it never takes that long to achieve full occupancy.”

Farmington Hills, Mich.-based architectural firm Fusco, Shaffer and Pappas Inc. handled the building’s design; O’Brien, a Pontiac, Mich.-based construction company, will handle the construction.

Rental information will be handled through Volunteers of America’s Terre Haute complex, Brownstone Manor, in the coming months, Gordon said. Its number is (812) 232-8752.



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