Originally created 11/28/01

Plan for senior home advances



AIKEN - It will take a final approval on a land swap before the Aiken Area Council on Aging can begin construction on a new elderly housing complex.

On Tuesday, Aiken County Council passed the second reading of a proposal to authorize property donations for the Windham House.

If the ordinance is approved by the end of the year, general contractor C.F. Evans of Orangeburg can begin construction in January.

The Windham House senior living facility will have 47 one-bedroom apartment units. The project is named after former City Manager Roland Windham, said Scott Murphy, the executive director of the Aiken Area Council on Aging.

The county, city and school district are involved in donating and swapping pieces of property to create a plot large enough to build the council's first project to provide housing for the elderly residents of Aiken.

Funding will come from a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It was the first time the council had applied for HUD money.

The idea for the project arose in the early part of 2000 when the council's board recognized a need to address the safety and cost of the living of many of Aiken's seniors, Mr. Murphy said.

Residents who wish to live in a Windham House apartment unit will be chosen based on income eligibility. Services will include a common dining area, a laundry, a social room with a television and planned recreational activities.

"We're trying to provide comfortable surroundings (for them) to socialize with their family and friends and be in close proximity to medical treatment, if needed, as well as transportation - things vital for their independence and quality of life," Mr. Murphy said.

When the council announced the facility in March, it received many calls from residents in the community who wanted to know about availability.

County Administrator Clay Killian said final approval will be voted on by Dec. 18.

Residents are expected to be able to move into their apartments and pay discounted rent and utility rates by this time next year.

Reach Carly Phillips at (803) 648-1395 or carly.phillips@augustachronicle.com.

Elderly residents of Aiken County will have a new choice in housing by late 2000 if the Windham House opens as planned.