First Selectman Gordon Joseloff waved his hands over a projected map while explaining where buildings and access would probably end up on Baron's South. It was the first public presentation of the town's plans for a senior living community on the property.
"I'm interested, but I'm also concerned. There are only 66 units, but we have so many more who need them," said Gloria Silver, who feared the availability would be used up by nonresidents and leave Westport seniors fighting for the dwindling slots. Her husband, Larry Silver, has been a photographer for 60 years and she said they would hate to leave Westport's art community because of a lack of room.
State and federal funding requires the town to remove residency as a requirement. The town is looking at using a weighted point system to give Westporter's a slight edge. Joseloff said one of the main reasons for creating a senior housing area is to help keep Westport's seniors from moving away. Research showed more and more of them can't find affordable housing and are forced to leave for other communities.
Baron's South, which would have more than half the units priced for those bringing in no more than $50,000 a year, would also provide some degree of nursing and assisted living services though the primary focus would be on independent living. The meeting adjourned with one lingering question voiced by a handful of seniors, "When will this happen?" As the plans are conceptual there is no solid answer to that.
Joseloff said he would like to see construction well under way when he leaves office in a few years. But then as he confessed at the start of the meeting, he has a vested interest in the property. Joseloff turned 65 a few months ago.
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