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Published on - Sept. 3, 2009
City approves senior housing lease
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PINELLAS PARK – There will be new and improved senior housing soon.

The Pinellas Park City Council approved on Aug. 27 the signing of a ground lease to make way for 88 one-bedroom units for low-income seniors to be called St. Giles Manor II.

The improved part of the equation is the announcement of $12.5 million in federal stimulus money to remodel an existing 110-unit senior complex, St. Giles Manor I.

The major infrastructure improvements at St. Giles Manor include adding elevators, a new roof and balconies. The units will get new carpet, appliances, energy efficient plumbing fixtures and lighting. In a phased approach residents will be reimbursed for alternate housing and move out of their residences for a week. The renovation is slated for early 2010.

St. Giles Manor I is approaching its 30th birthday.

“As those who own houses know, things break and wear down. It will really, really make the facility,” said attorney Joseph DiVito.

The fixes will use about $12.5 million of federal stimulus money for the shovel ready project. The complex is on 82nd Avenue across from Fire Station 33.

St. Giles Manor II will be located on 58th Street and 76th Avenue and the existing Millie Clark Senior Center Annex will be demolished to make way for the new complex. Preliminary complex plans have 19 units on the first floor and 23 units on the second, third, and fourth floors. The building will have community space, a lobby and reception area, two offices, a billiard and card area, an arts and crafts area, kitchen, restrooms and a laundry.

Funding for the approximately $12.5 million new construction project comes from the U.S. Housing and Development agency. The construction of the new units should start by the end of September.

The 80-year ground lease, which the council authorized the city manager to sign has annual rent of $1. In return for the land the city will receive a brand new senior annex, which will be operated and controlled by the city for all seniors.

The mayor and council members praised the senior housing project. Vice Mayor Jerry Mullins said, “I got to meet the people of St. Giles. They are so independent and in love with where they live … it gives them the freedom and independence they enjoy and want.”

The Episcopal archdiocese of Southwest Florida sponsors St. Giles Manor with assistance from St. Giles, DeVito said.

In other matters:

• St. Petersburg Muscular Dystrophy Association executive director Jennifer Bell and a family benefiting from MDA resources thanked Pinellas Park firefighters and the community for its continued support. Bell said Pinellas Park leads fundraising for MDA in Pinellas County.

• The city proclaimed Sept. 6-12 as Yellow Ribbon Suicide Awareness Prevention Week and National Suicide Awareness Week. Marlene Jehs, Chapter Director of Suncoast Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Organization, shared suicide risk factors and signs. The hotline for help, which reaches the local crisis center, is 1-800-SUICIDE.
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