Mary Nader is in heaven. Mary is one of the residents of Grand Way Commons, the newest property built by Cathedral Square Corporation. “I’m so lucky to be here, I can sit out on the balcony and see the mountains, I can take the bus uptown to see my grandchildren, and I can walk wherever I want.” At age 84, Mary said this was the first time in her life that she has lived on her own. Having worked for Fletcher Allen Health Care for 20 years, she was always busy and now she says “I still can’t sit still, living with my daughter out in the country wasn’t for me, I like city living. When I toured Grand Way Commons I fell in love with it. It’s made me feel so good to have a place to call my own. You’re not getting me out of here”.
Located at 412 Farrell Street, Grand Way Commons, offers affordable housing for seniors. What makes this particular property on the forefront of senior housing is that in addition to providing 63 units of affordable housing for seniors, four dynamic non-profits are all under one roof. The all-star line up includes Cathedral Square Corporation, United Way of Chittenden County, HomeShare Vermont, and a new VNA Adult Day Program site. According to, Nancy Eldridge, Executive Director of Cathedral Square, “Housing 63 senior households and four nonprofits all under one roof will increase services for residents; expand collaboration among the nonprofits; and make it easier for the public to obtain information about the services we offer – this is truly a dream realized for us”.
On May 1st, Grand Way opened its’ doors to residents. As of July 1st, all the apartments were leased up and Cathedral Square has a waitlist. Resident Robert Fuller feels lucky to have found a new place to live. Prior to moving to Grand Way, Robert lived in an apartment on North Avenue in Burlington. According to Robert, “The most important thing to me is that everything is new. Tom Fowler, the Property Manager of Grand Way is tops. He helped me with my new TV set, he set it up and now I can watch all my cable channels. I also love that my dentist is close by and Shaw’s grocery store is right next to us.”
Joan Bruns, a South Burlington resident was living in a three bedroom condo which got to be too much for her. She wanted to stay in South Burlington with her cats and at Grand Way she says, “I love the convenience. I have a view of the mountains, the apartment is soundproof and I don’t have to go outside to get the mail or my car. I feel safe in the building and Tom the Cathedral Square Property Manager is very helpful.” South Burlington residents received preference for the new apartments.
Mary, Joan and Robert’s enthusiasm was also shared by Delores Barker, who recently moved from Arkansas to Vermont to be with her daughter in October 2006. When asked what she likes best about her new housing she said, “By having my own place, I feel so at home. I feel more like reaching out to people and making them feel at home too.” As the Assistant Resident Manager for the property, Delores checks the doors and assists residents in the building. Delores said, “At age 77, I am so pleased to have a job. I am so tickled to be able to help others. The people in Vermont are so friendly and out-going and they love my southern accent.”
Joan Austin, a native Vermonter, originally from Essex Junction says, “It’s important for seniors to be heard. I was so astounded with how quickly I was able to find housing through Cathedral Square Corporation and my apartment is so new. I feel secure being here.”
In Vermont, the number of elderly Vermonters 65 years old and older is projected to grow by 38% over the next ten years. By the year 2030, one in every four Vermonters will be 65 or older. At the same time, the number of nursing home beds in Vermont will decrease by more than 5%. In the coming decade, seniors and persons with disabilities are much more likely to receive long term care in their home than in a traditional care setting. If Mary, Robert, Delores or Joan ever need long term care services, Cathedral Square will be their strongest advocate to bring services home.
On July 19, 2007, Cathedral Square Corporation, United Way of Chittenden County, HomeShare Vermont and the VNA hosted the grand opening event for Grand Way Commons attended by Governor Jim Douglas. Funding for the project came from a number of state, local and federal sources including; the City of South Burlington, Chittenden Bank, United Way of Chittenden County, HomeShare Vermont, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Vermont Housing Finance Agency, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Residential Energy Efficiency Program, Housing Vermont and Department of Aging and Independent Living. Nancy Eldridge, Executive Director of CSC served as master of ceremonies for the event and gave an impassioned thank you to all for making this wonderful project possible. Congratulations from Vermont’s congressional delegation were sent from Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch. The event also included a ribbon cutting ceremony with Grand Way resident participation, refreshments, a photo exhibit sponsored by the Vermont Association of Professional Care Providers and tours of the building. Over 250 individuals attended the event despite the dreary weather.
Anyone interested in additional information regarding Grand Way Commons or other CSC communities, please contact our main number at 802-863-2224.
Cathedral Square Corporation is an award-winning developer, owner and manager of affordable housing for older Vermonters and individuals with disabilities. CSC has participated in the development of more than 40 affordable housing projects throughout the State. CSC is proud to be an American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA) Quality First participant and an equal opportunity employer and housing provider.