In 1996, a task force was commissioned by the Beaver Island Rural Health Center to explore the requirements of seniors residing on Beaver Island. Information collected by the task force via market studies and independent surveys indicated an increased need for adequate senior housing on the island.
To address these needs, the Beaver Island Housing Committee was established. The Beaver Island Housing Committee started as a grassroots initiative and was later incorporated as The Beaver Island Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization.
In 2003, the directors of BICDC in conjunction with the Beaver Island Rural Health Center directors secured a parcel of land (donated by the Traudt and Gill families) for the development of a new Rural Health Center and the Supportive Housing Project. BICDC has continued its ongoing efforts to secure funding for this project through 2010.
On the sunny morning of September 30, 2010, a good-sized crowd attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the senior housing project, to thank the group who spent ten difficult and often frustrating years bringing this much-needed facility to fruition. There were many people, businesses, and agencies to thank—a project this complicated doesn't get this far without a large, dedicated team. Pete LoDico, who had been on board since the inception, did the honors. Afterwards Pete joined Don Spencer, Jane McKenzie, Rick Speck, Ray Cole, and Connie Wojan in taking a golden shovel and, upon command, plunging it into the ground across the street from Stoney Acre on Carlisle Road—where the building's driveway will enter.
Afterwards the crowd moved into the Rural Health Center to peruse the blueprints—and in some cases speak up for their preferred apartment. The ground breaking follows the closing on September 29 on the financing for the development. The affordable housing for low and moderate income seniors is expected to be ready for occupancy in June, 2011, a date which is subject to change based on weather conditions. The construction contractor is Beaver Gems.
The rental rates are set through the grant process which provided funding. They are available to qualified tenants. Utilities are included in the rent, and the building will be heated through a geo-thermal system—20 closed-circuit, 200'-deep wells. The building will include six individual apartments, 4 one-bedroom and 2 two-bedroom, each with its own kitchen and bath. In addition, the building will have a laundry room, community room, and a community kitchen.
Pete thanked the following people for their assistance in making this possible: Jeff and Nancy Traudt and the Gill Family for donating the land, Jane MacKenzie, from Northern Homes for her dedication in obtaining grants and the loan, Nina Simpson Jones and Ray Cole for their three fund-raising dinners; the U. S Department of Agriculture; the Michigan Housing Development Authority; the BI Quilters; the Charlevoix County Community Foundation; the Grand Traverse Band of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians; Beaver Gems for its patience and design suggestions; St. James Township; the BIRHC; the past and present members of BICDC board; and most important—all of those individuals who came to fund-raising dinners and who gave the donations that made the ground breaking possible.
Now, in the near future, our senior citizens will be able to stay on their Island home.