Archived Story

Senior housing project gets another funding commitment

Published 12:00am Sunday, February 10, 2013

ROME TOWNSHIP — The proposed senior housing project in the eastern end got a possible $50,000 boost from the Lawrence County Commissioners.

The county has agreed to invest up to $25,000 of its 2015 and $25,000 of its 2016 Community Development Block Grants funding to the proposal by Pirhl Developers to build a 40-to-45-unit senior living complex.

The complex will be built on land across from Fairland East Elementary School and adjacent to the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization/St. Mary’s Medical Center modular health clinics.

“That is a federal grant,” Commission President Bill Pratt said. “It is not money we can spend in any other way. It is an easy way for us to do this and not allocate money out of the general fund.”

The community buildings at Washington and Symmes townships were paid for with CDBG.

“We have asked the developer that they include a senior center that is opened to the public in their design,” Pratt said. “That money will help with equipment for the kitchen, coolers, so we can have a satellite senior center where we can have prepared meals for seniors.”

In January the commissioners approved $100,000 in CDBG funds to help with a sanitary sewer line expansion to the project and possible subsequent developments in the area.

To provide that service, the current line from the Union-Rome Sewer System to the proposed site must be extended about 7,500 feet.

“That is the same situation where we can use it because it is for a senior project,” Pratt said. “We have made the commitment but that won’t happen if the project doesn’t go through.”

That money will come from the 2014 CDBG funding.

“The seniors in the eastern end of the county have no facility for housing and … this ensures those residents have senior housing,” Pratt said. “It highlights our commitment to seniors in the county.”

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  • Poor Richard

    Another question, if the community buildings at Washington and Symmes townships were paid for with CDBG, why couldn’t the Burlington Center for seniors have been paid for with those funds? What is the Burlington building being used for now?

    (Report comment)

  • Poor Richard

    Community Block grant funds must be used for activities that benefit low and moderate income citizens, the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or other community development activities to address an “urgent” threat to health or safety. The key word URGENT. The funds can also be used for preservation and restoration of historic properties in low-income neighborhoods.

    The use of the funds is for projects that benefit an URGENT NEED to improve the lives of low to moderate income citizens, not already wealthy county commissioners. So, the commissioners should have the documentation to back this up.

    There must be a study or report that the county has prepared or contracted that provides the numbers and statistics of the seniors in the eastern end of the county that need housing otherwise why would our elected officials spend taxpayer money willy-nilly with no research to back up this spending? Please let us know who to contact for a copy of this study.

    I don’t have a problem with creating senior housing but I do have a huge problem when a project uses public funding ear-marked for low income citizens to benefit an elected official who has enough money to pay for the ungrades himself. In my opinion, this goes beyond unethical. You can twist it around all you want gentlemen, but you are still using funds to benefit an elected offical — do you plan on doing that for everyone in Lawrence County?

    (Report comment)

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