By Mark Pechenik
April 6, 2015
SOUTH BERWICK, Maine —With spring weather slowly approaching, supporters of the Young Street Apartments senior housing project in South Berwick are hoping to catch up on construction delays caused by severe winter weather.
Currently, the apartments’ opening has been pushed back from early September to late September or early October, according to South Berwick Town Manager Perry Ellsworth.
However, this schedule could change with more favorable seasonal conditions. “We did lose some time due to the extreme cold and snow,” said Ellsworth, “but I’m told that, with warmer conditions, there is a good chance of getting back on schedule.”
Started in December, the Young Street Apartments will feature 23 one-bedroom units and five two-bedroom units of affordable housing for senior citizens upon its completion. The project, which is being constructed by Avesta Housing of Portland, will also feature 28 parking spaces and on-site laundry. Each apartment will rent from $750 to $1100 per month, including utilities, based upon tenants’ annual incomes.
During the winter, installation of utilities such as water and sewer, the building’s concrete foundation, street grading, and drainage of the project were accomplished.
Within the next few weeks, the apartment building’s three floors will be put in place including walls and flooring. “They’ll be doing a floor a week,” said Ellsworth. “Then, within the next 30 days, the building’s roof will be installed.”
Starting on May 1 and into the summer, reconstruction of the project’s parking lot will happen, including installation of new sidewalks and lighting. This part of construction will likely require closure of the adjoining South Berwick Public Library’s parking lot “into the first week in June,” stated Ellsworth.
Particular emphasis is being placed on the building of a new pathway from the apartments to Central School. “We’re looking to have this done by the time of the Strawberry Festival” in late June, said the town manager.
According to Avesta Housing representative Kyle Ambler, “To date, we have 75 households on the ‘interested’ list for the Young Street Apartments. Households with annual incomes ranging from $28,350 to $43,740 are eligible for apartments.” Those interested can call Avesta at (207) 553-7777 or visit their website at www.avestahousing.org.
In the meantime, Ellsworth is among those who hope the Young Street Apartments are the start of similar initiatives.
“These apartments create an opportunity for South Berwick senior citizens to move back into town,” he said. “Too often, our elderly have to move away after a spouse dies because they can no longer afford to live here.”
He added: “But with affordable senior housing part of South Berwick’s comprehensive plan, the Young Street Apartments will be the first step in building affordable housing for seniors in our community.”