Construction has started on Carroll's first low-income, assisted-living community for senior citizens.

Ridge Residences will allow seniors to live semi-dependently in their own apartments, but the 80-unit complex will feature a central kitchen and dining hall available toall residents, said John T. Hanson, president of the board of Ridge Residences Inc.

The kitchen is being built for 25 elderly residents who are in a special category called "fragile elderly," Hanson said. They will be served three meals daily.

However, the dining hall will be available to other residents, as well as tenants at the adjacent Timber Ridge Apartments. Westminster Church Homes Inc., a non-profit foundation comprised of several city churches, supports both facilities.

"It's a fabulous program," said Jolene Sullivan, the county's director ofcitizen services. "For people who may need help with some of the minor activities of daily living or making a meal, these new units will give them that little bit of assistance."

Carroll Lutheran Villagein Westminster provides a similarmeal program and other services forits residents, but that facility is private.

The $4 million RidgeResidences project should be completed and ready for occupancy in spring of 1993, said Dick Boecker, vice president of Housing and HealthServices, a housing consultant and management firm for the complex.

Besides serving the "fragile elderly," the development will be open to low-income senior citizens. To qualify for residency, applicantsmust be 62 years old and fall under certain income limits set by thefederal government.

Tenants will pay 30 percent of their adjustedmonthly income toward the rent, with the federal government picking up the rest ofthe approved rent schedule, Boecker said.

The three-story building, which features one-bedroom and efficiency apartments,has been on the drawing board for several years. It has been delayed, however, because of various problems with the federal government, Boecker said.

The owners only closed on the property in December. The City Council approved a building permit at its meeting last week.

Ridge Residences Inc. secured a 40-year loan for the project from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. The MarylandCommunity Development Administration is a second lender.

Sullivansaid Ridge Residences will help meet the need for senior citizen housing in the county.

"The waiting list at comparable complexes for the elderly is one or two years," she said. "Ridge Residences should lessen the waiting lists for apartment needs -- at least in the Westminster area."

The project comes on the heels of a recently completed $640,000 renovation of Timber Ridge, which opened in the early 1970s. Boecker said the project included extensive exterior maintenance,including roofing and siding, and some interior work, as well.

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