Despite being one of the newest buildings in one of Pennsylvania’s oldest towns along the Susquehanna River, the brick facade and large front porch of Marietta Senior Apartments blend into the rich architecture of the surrounding neighborhood.
But most important, the 56-unit apartment building at the intersection of North Bank and East Market streets is affordable housing for the elderly.
The four-story building was constructed over the past year on a 1.4-acre site that formerly housed an abandoned foundry.
The building contains 42 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom apartments.
During the grand opening of the housing development on Tuesday, Ken Smith, executive director of Community Basics Inc., of Lancaster, said the apartments were built to addresss those 62 and older with low to moderate incomes.
Several apartments were open to the public including a ground floor unit that is accessible to people who are disabled and on wheelchairs — from the countertop-level microwave to the fully open shower stall.
One thing Smith was proud to announce was that 10 units in the building have been set aside for elderly residents who are homeless.
He said offering housing to homeless people is part of a larger initiative started by the county commissioners.
Lancaster County commissioner Dennis Stuckey said the 10 units in the project set aside for the homeless represents “10 percent of our goal of 100 units over the next 10 years.”
“This is a big step for us,” said Stuckey.
Commissioner Craig Leaman commended project representatives for building on a former industrial lot and designing a building that features a highly efficient geothermal heating and cooling system.
Leaman said the apartment building shows “our boroughs are still vibrant places where good things still happen.”
If there is one thing Smith emphasized about Marietta Senior Apartments, it’s that the project needed the cooperation of many entities from the federal to local level.
Smith said the $11.2 million project was possible because of collaboration of financial partners, Fulton Bank and the county Redevelopment Authority.
Matthew Sternberg, executive director of the redevelopment authority, said Marietta Senior Apartments represents an example of a well-managed and executed project that attracts federal housing block grants and other “out of county funds.”
According to a press release, Community Basics has already received 50 rental applications and completely processed 16 applicants since Aug. 1.
The first residents are expected to move in on November 1.
The apartment building is located near a bus stop, several parks, a medical facility, churches and restaurants.
The apartment building offers on-site parking, a community room and a laundry.
Special transportation services will be provided to a local senior center.
Tabor Community Services will work with the residents who live in the building.
Marietta Senior Apartments is Community Basics’ 11th project that addresses the need for affordable housing.