CHAZY - Lawrence Kirby wants his fellow senior citizens in the town of Chazy to have another place they can call home.
The 75-year-old town resident serves as president of the board of directors for the Chazy Senior Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization that has been working since 2000 to establish a housing facility for those age 55 and older. The organization's mission is important, said Kirby, due to the town's unique situation in Clinton County.
"We're the only town in the county that doesn't have senior housing," said Kirby.
When getting older, seniors are faced with more and more challenges of maintaining their own homes, said Kirby, leaving them few alternatives other than moving to senior housing outside of town.
"It's very tough when you're 65, 75 years old and you have to move away from your friends and family," said Kirby.
The lack of senior housing in Chazy fueled the organization's efforts nearly a decade ago, which still has a strong focus today, said Kirby. The challenges of a troubled national economy and millions of dollars in cuts to the state's senior housing budget are daunting, he said, but won't stand in the way of raising the more than $1 million necessary for the project.
Chazy Senior Housing has already accomplished the initial groundwork to build a 10-unit housing development, said Kirby. The organization has plans for the project in hand, drawn up by Architectural & Engineering Design Associates, P.C., Plattsburgh and has secured 4.1 acres for the project on Church Street from Sacred Heart Church. There, plans are to construct the housing facility, which would consist of mainly single-bedroom apartments, with potential for a combination of two- and three-bedroom units.
"The plan is there. We're shovel-ready," said Kirby. "What we need is the funding and it's been particularly difficulty lately because the state's funding has really dried up. The amounts have dropped radically, but we're continuing on."