Rome Township senior complex gets needed tax credits; expected to open by 2017

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ROME TOWNSHIP — A controversial senior housing complex outside of Proctorville is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Monday the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) said it was awarding affordable tax credits and a grant of $750,000 toward the Proctor’s Landing project.

“The next step is we will be going through the design stage where you pull all the information into the final design, take any comments from community meetings and try to incorporate those things into the design process,” said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. “We will work with equity investors and the banks to pull together final legal documents.”

This is the third time to try for the tax credits requested by the CAO that is partnering with PIRHL Developers of Cleveland. The goal is a $92 million 56-unit independent senior living complex across from Fairland Middle School and down the street from the Wyngate at Rivers Edge, an upscale assisted living complex that opened in 2014.

The PIRHL project was originally slated for acreage by Fairland East Elementary School, but needing to add a $400,000 sewer line there made the project cost-prohibitive, kicking it out of contention for the tax credits.

It was then moved to the current site near a residential area that brought out protests from many in that neighborhood who began a petition drive against the project.

Among their concerns were potential traffic jams at the entrance of the middle school and a strain on the township’s existing fire and police departments, especially because the current plans call for a three-story building and the township doesn’t have a ladder truck.

Those protesting were also concerned that the complex would be for low-income, which they equated with those involved in drugs.

However, Kline said there would be policies that would not tolerate that and that residents would have to undergo criminal background and credit checks.

There will be 19 one-bedroom and 37 two-bedroom apartments with rents for those on fixed incomes. Residents must be at least 55 years old.

Project construction is expected to start in the summer of 2016 and be completed by mid-2017.

Already there are 10 on a waiting list, according to Kline.

Phone calls made to those who spearheaded the original protest of the project were not returned by press time.