Neighborhood to be rejuvenated with senior housing

A 10-unit senior housing project will be going up in place of a 50-year-old building that's been vacant for 20 years and that once was a tuberculosis sanitarium.

The Kalamazoo County Land Bank, the City of Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University are partners in the project that will remove an eyesore and restore access for neighbors to the natural wooded area, says Kelly Clarke, executive director of the county land bank.

The apartments are expected to be up by the summer of 2012.

The first step in the project is getting an environmental assessment of what can be expected in demolition of the building. The land bank will be seeking proposals for demolition and has $2 million budgeted for both the environmental report and the demolition of the former sanitarium.

The funds are part of a $15 million federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant awarded to the city and the land bank.

Building the 10 units and providing roads and utilities to the site is expected to cost about $1.6 million.

The project fit the criteria for federal funding in a number of ways, Clarke says. The housing for seniors will serve an currently under-served population and the demolition of the building will address blight in the neighborhood.

The apartments will be built for those over age 55 who can live independently. They will be for a person with an income of $21,350 or less or a two-person household that makes no more than $24,400.

Clarke says the attractive apartments on one story offer full access and open entry halls. The units are built on property with shared open space that offers an opportunity for walking trails in a wooded, park-like setting.

Writer: Kathy Jennings
Source: Kelly Clarke, Kalamazoo County Land Bank

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