A senior-housing development now under construction in Mount Prospect represents roughly 10 years of work and the dreams of three local mayors.
The Mount Prospect Horizon Senior Living Community is expected to open at 1703 E. Kensington Road in the summer of 2014. It will consist of 91 affordable apartments, in both one- and two-bedroom configurations, for area seniors.
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Beth Demes, executive director of the Alden Foundation, the Chicago-based developer of the project, said at a formal groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday that 40 applications have been submitted so far by prospective residents, and 28 of those have been approved.
"The early interest shows that there's a huge need in this community for affordable senior housing," Demes said.
The project has been a long time coming. Demes said Alden first tried to acquire the Kensington Road site about 10 years ago. The effort was supported all along by village leaders, including Mount Prospect Mayor Arlene Juracek and her predecessors, Irvana Wilks and Gerald L. "Skip" Farley.
"We hear over and over from our residents that Mount Prospect needs senior housing," Juracek said.
Wilks, who attended Wednesday's ceremony, said the development will allow seniors who have lived in Mount Prospect for years to stay in the community.
"People are always telling stories of loved ones who have had to move out of the village when they got older," she said. "It's happened in some of our own families. We've been trying to get this project going forever, and I'm so happy to see it under way."
The Mount Prospect Horizon apartments will be open to seniors age 62 and older. To qualify for occupancy, applicants can earn no more than 60 percent of the area median income. The units will be spacious, energy efficient and equipped with safety features, such as a 24-hour emergency call system, officials said. The development also will offer a number of special amenities, like an exercise room, a TV/media room and a computer lab.
A number of private and public partners provided funding and other assistance to make the Mount Prospect Horizon project a reality. Representatives from many of these agencies, which included the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Cook County, attended Wednesday's groundbreaking.
"It's nice to see what we can do when we work together," said Michael Jasso, director of the Cook County Planning & Development Department.
Mary Kenney, executive director of IHDA, said federal low-income housing credits are an important tool in getting projects like Mount Prospect Horizon funded. She encouraged people to let their representatives in Congress know that the housing credit program should continue.
"Our seniors belong in our communities," Kenney said.