Celebrating the 'New' 30-Year-Old Whitney Hill Homestead
Residents, legislators, funders, policymakers and friends turned out in force the afternoon of June 23 to celebrate the completion of major upgrades at Whitney Hill Homestead, a Cathedral Square housing community in Williston, Vermont.
Whitney Hill Homestead originally was developed in 1992 as an initiative of a former community group called Williston Elder Housing in partnership with Housing Vermont and Cathedral Square. It offers 44 one- and two-bedroom apartments to older adults of all income levels and, since 2011, on-site SASH® (Support and Services at Home) services and programming.
Among those attending the celebration were Vermont state senators Ginny Lyons and Thomas Chittenden, and Sarah Carpenter, who was CEO of Cathedral Square when the Whitney Hill Homestead was first developed. And among the residents attending was Gisele Nelson (pictured, left), who has lived in the community since it opened 30 years ago and received a bouquet from Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald (right) in honor of her tenure at Whitney Hill.
The celebration marked the completion of a full year of renovations that included new boilers, roofs, siding, windows, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, ceilings, and life-safety systems, including an entirely new sprinkler system. With the help of SASH coordinator Beth Alpert, residents packed up their belongings and moved in phases to area hotels, where they lived for six weeks while work was performed in their part of the community.
While initially apprehensive about needing to move out while work was being done, residents overwhelmingly now say that the inconvenience they experienced was well worth the trouble. As one resident put it, “I remember returning to new carpet, new flooring, new cabinets and countertops, and the smell of fresh paint. My new oven was true to the temperature instead of always being 25 degrees off, and I no longer had to bend over to reach into the sink to do dishes.”
“Today we celebrate the critical importance of high-quality, service-supported, affordable homes for older adults,” said Cathedral Square CEO Kim Fitzgerald in her opening remarks, adding that Whitney Hill Homestead also “illustrates the importance of reinvesting in existing affordable housing in addition to building new housing throughout the state.”
Click to see several photos of the "new" Whitney Hill Homestead.