Saturday, October 25th, 2008
By William Kincaid
Senior apartments likely at former Mersman site
  A new senior citizen apartment complex could open in a portion of the former Mersman factory site on Wayne Street by the end of 2009.
The Celina Planning Commission approved a site plan review for Mackinaw of Celina United Partnership to construct the Mackinaw Retirement Village - an L-shaped, single story apartment complex for seniors citizens with a parking lot consisting of 50 parking spaces and eight garages.
The planning commission - members Jeff Hazel, Ralph Stelzer, Tom Hone, Sharon LaRue and Elden Wetter - unanimously approved the request during its regular meeting on Thursday night.
Mackinaw of Celina United Partnership purchased the three acre site - which would house the 32,000 square foot facility - from Brickyard Investments Ltd. last month, Robert Hellmuth, president of RLH Partners, Inc., a real estate development and construction company, told the newspaper.
Hazel said the commission has the final authority and the proposal does not require the approval of Celina City Council. However, said Hellmuth, he must come back in a few months to discuss some of the cosmetic, architectural and draining issues with the commission, which will make another decision at that time.
The proposed step-less apartment complex would feature 16 one-bedroom and 16 two-story bedroom apartments for those 55 and older.
The apartments would range in size from 688 to 875 square feet and include oven, microwave, double sink with garbage disposal, dishwasher and refrigerator. All utilities sans cable and telephone would be included in the monthly rent.
The complex would also include over 20 safety components such as lever door handles, grab bars and enhanced lighting, as well as ample doorways for wheelchair mobility.
"When a single person is living alone in a house ... at some point in time that becomes a security issue ... what would happen if they fell?" Hellmuth said about the targeted demographic group he hopes will want to move into smaller living facilities.
Hellmuth stressed the apartments are for independent-living.
"When people say this is a nursing home, it isn't," he said.
Contracted nurses or health assistants may be brought in at the request of individual tenants but the service is not supplied by the complex.
Hellmuth said a similar apartment complexthat he was involved with is in Springfield. "This is truly independent living for seniors. This senior concept works very well."
A play area for tenet grandchildren; a community room for social events such as pot-luck dinners and bingo; a library and computer room and laundry services are planned for within the building, Hellmuth said.
The apartment would also be in close proximity to outside senior services, he said.
Some seniors just do better when they have more social activity, he said.
Hellmuth also said this is a profit venture with no tax exemptions, adding that it will not be
"subsidized living."
He also said the average tenet age is estimated to be 79.
Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan said the concept makes sense because of the aging local baby-boomers.
Stelzer said he was readily in favor of turning a dead property into a place where the city can grow.
Hellmuth said the building would probably be a combination of siding and brick with a shingle roof.
"We're going to build the nicest property we can," he said, before Hazel commented that the similar facility in Springfield is ten-years-old and in good condition.
Transportation and other services will be provide by the nearby Sources, Inc., Hellmuth said.
"This development will be one of the first green communities built in Western Ohio. An array of energy conservation features and environmentally friendly building techniques will be incorporated in this development," Hellmuth wrote in a project overview.
Celina City Councilman Ed Jeffries, who was present at the meeting, said he may have disagreed with various proposals in the past, but he supports the senior apartment 100 percent.
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