Coastal Opportunities breaks ground on supportive-living apartments

Jun 20, 2014
A groundbreaking ceremony for Coastal Opportunities new supportive-living apartment home was held Friday, June 20. Participants included, from left, Thatcher Silar, Farley & Son Landscaping; Chris Glass, architect; Tad Stone, project manager; John Davee, president of Maine Coast Construction; Randy Scamfer, consulting engineer; Ben Scofield, resident; Joe Curll, executive director of Coastal Opportunities; Scott Achorn, resident; Tony Bates, vice president and chairman of Facilities Committee, First Congregational Church of Camden; Melvin Achorn, resident.

Camden — Construction has commenced on a new, supportive-living apartment home at 61 Elm St. in Camden.

On Friday, June 20, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the new building, which is expected to be completed and occupied by Nov. 30.

One of the main goals for the design of the new apartments is to create living space that allows its residents to “age in place," said Coastal Opportunities Executive Director Joseph Curll. “’Aging in place’ is a term used to describe a person living in their residence, for as long as they are able, as they age. This includes being able to have any services or other support they might need over time as their needs change,” he said.

In order to accomplish this, Universal Design concepts are being employed, such as smooth, ground-level entrances without stairs, wide interior doors and hallways, and bright and appropriate lighting.

The new facility will include three resident apartments on the first floor and one “sympathetic tenant” unit on the second floor.

Once the building begins to take shape, everyone will recognize the familiar Eastlake-style porch and dormers, the significant historic elements from the 59 Elm St. property where the Coastal Opportunities tenants currently live. Christopher Glass, project architect, chose to reproduce these features in the building design in order to maintain the charm and character of the historic downtown neighborhood.

The property at 59 Elm St. is owned by The First Congregational Church of Camden. Coastal Opportunities has been leasing the building from the church for the past 25 years for three residents who participate in Coastal Opportunities’ programs and services. The downtown location is very important to these residents, as it assures that they have convenient, walking access to work and community services. In recent years, trustees of the church and members of the Coastal Opportunities board of directors have been concerned about the structural wear and tear on the aging building. Based on the findings and recommendations of several professional sources, members of the Church determined that the best solution was to raze the house.

Because of the longstanding relationship that Coastal Opportunities has enjoyed with the church, the two parties set out to find a solution that would meet the present and future needs of both entities. On Oct. 6, 2013, the members of the church voted to sell to Coastal Opportunities a conforming parcel of land at 61 Elm St., for the purpose of building this new, supportive-living apartment home. Stephen Hanscom, president of The First Congregational Church of Camden, summed up the agreement as “a mutually beneficial transaction that serves both parties in the best sense of community preservation.”

Project partners for the new home include: Christopher Glass, architect; Maine Coast Construction, general contractor; Tad Stone, project manager; Randy Scamfer, consulting engineer; Gartley & Dorsky Engineering and Surveying, Inc., site planning; Farley & Son Landscaping, earthwork; Clear Brook Builders, building framing; Achorn Electric; All Heat; Bryant Plumbing; Floor Magic; INS Insulation; Irv’s Drywall; Mainely Concrete; The Paint Company; and Performance Paving.

For more information about this project, please contact Curl at 236-6008 or jcurll@coastalopportunities.org.

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