Updated 06/09/2009 06:24 PM
First Affordable Residence Opens For S.I. Seniors
After nearly six years of work, Staten Island's first affordable living residence for seniors was opened by local politicians in in Sea View on Tuesday. Borough reporter Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
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Joe and Josephine Inge have lived on Staten Island for more than half a century, and in their later years they do not want to leave. Yet there are few options for senior housing in the borough.
So three years ago, the Inges put their names on a waiting list for an apartment in Park Lane at Sea View, the island's first independent senior living community.
Last month, the Inges became the first tenants of the 104-unit mixed-income development built on the campus of the old Sea View Hospital.
"I think it's marvelous, absolutely marvelous," said Josephine Inge.
A ribbon cutting was held Tuesday, after six years of construction that cost $30 million in private and public money to renovate the building. The structure had landmark status because it was once a dormitory for nurses who cared for tuberculosis patients.
"We had to modernize the building while at the same time preserving all the historic architectural features," said developer Matt Schwartz.
The distinctive features include 500 full-length windows, which were removed, refurbished and then reinstalled.
The renovated facilities allow seniors to enjoy a fitness center, arts and craft stations and libraries, as well as take advantage of meal plans, housekeeping and laundry services.
Jane Lyons, who worked at the old hospital for years, said that the former "rumpus room" where nurses used to socialize feels the same as it did long ago.
"I'm feeling very happy to see it transformed, and so beautifully," said Lyons.
According to City Planning officials, Staten Island's senior population is expected to grow nearly 27 percent between 2010 and 2030, meaning that affordable senior housing is a crucial necessity.
"Staten islanders who have helped build this community have a right to stay here in their golden years," said City Councilman James Oddo. "And they don't want to move to Jersey or Pennsylvania, but sometimes they don't have a choice."
Apartments at Park Lane range from $800 to $1,600 a month. Applicants must be at least 62 years old and qualify based on their income. About 40 units are still available.
For more information about Park Lane, visit www.parklaneatseaview.com.