A Beautiful Gem

Officials dedicate first phase of Woodcrest elderly housing complex in Somers

By Brendan Rimetz, Journal Inquirer

SOMERS — Four years after its inception, the First phase of the new Woodcrest elderly housing project is complete.

An official dedication ceremony for Phase 1 of die project was held on Friday morning in the Lois Matczak Community Center, locat ed at the complex on Battle Street.

The ceremony brought together Woodcrest residents and state and local dignitaries as well as members of the public and corporate offi cials.

“This is such an accomplish ment,” First Selectwoman Lisa Pellegrini said. ‘This does not mag ically appear as it is the hard work of many.”

The first phase was an $18 mil lion. 86-unit apartment complex that replaced the original Woodcrest housing complex, which had fallen into disrepair.

Part of Phase 1 was originally dedicated in November 2008 when the first 54 units were completed. Planners then moved residents liv ing in the old Woodcrest complex into the newly finished apartments. Workers then tore down the old complex and replaced it with newer, larger housing units.

Residents of the complex were pleased with the results.

“I think it’s just beautiful,” said resident Frank Bania. Tm very happy here.”

The visiting officials were equal ly impressed with the project.

“I remember the before and look at where we are now,” Sen. John A. Kissel, R-Enficld, said. “You have a gem. a beautiful gem.”

Developer Harvey Edelstein, whose Branford-based company. Real Estate Diagnostics Inc., over-saw the project, said the goal was to build something special for the town’s older residents. He said they tried to get the best companies they could to work on the project.

Resident Celia Levesque said even the contractors were kind to the residents and looked out for their needs.

‘They were very nice.” Levesque said.

A number of corporate, local, and slate officials were also recognized for their contributions to the proj ect. Former First Selectman David Pinney. Rep. Penny Bacchiochi, R- Somers, Kissel, Robert Landry, and Mary-Lou Hastings were all recog nized for their work on the project.

Rockville Bank President William J. McGurk was also recog nized for his contribution. Rockville Bank helped with fund ing for the project. Vice President of Commercial Banking William DeMore was on hand to accept the plaque on behalf of McGurk.

*‘We couldn’t be any prouder than what we have here,” DeMore said.

As for the second phase of the project, Edelstein said he was unsure when it would begin. He said land has already been secured for that portion of the project but funding still needs to be pul togeth er.

The first phase of the project was funded through a combination of grants, loans, and tax credits from both federal and state government and national corporations.

The second phase of the project involves the addition of 60 more housing units. When finished, the Woodcrest project will feature a total of 146 housing units.

Edelstein said phase one is already at 100 percent occupancy and there are 200 people currently on the wailing list for an apartment.