– Mary Mayo
21 Gilman Street in Waterville may soon hear the footsteps and laughter of young people again. The beautiful old high school, built in 1913 and empty for years, has been converted into 35 affordable, one, two and three bedroom ‘homes’.
I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Gilman Place Apartments yesterday, May 11, and was impressed not only by the spacious, sun filled apartments but by the commitment of those who made the project possible.
Kevin Bunker, from the Developers Collaborative (and a GrowSmart Maine Board member), and Ron Phillips, CEO of CEI Inc. – owners of the property – both spoke about the economic, community and environmental impacts of resurrecting a grand old building perfectly located within easy reach of public transportation and downtown.
Governor LePage, mayor of Waterville through the three year planning and building process, spoke of his pleasure at having played a part in moving the project forward.
Representatives from Bangor Savings Bank, Bank of America and the National Equity Fund talked about the unique public / private partnership that this project represents. Dale McCormick from MaineHousing spoke about the various sources of public funding that went into the funding package, including national and state Historic Preservation Tax Credits.
Jennie Patterson shared her joy at moving from the isolation of rural living into her beautiful new home at Gilman Place, within easy reach of everything she needs. She’s particularly excited about having her grandchildren visit, bringing back the sounds of childrens’ footsteps and voices in the hallways.
Following the official ceremonies refreshments were served in the spacious community room and tours were offered. Apartments were open on all three floors, each one different than the other, all light filled, high ceilinged and energy efficient.
Kudos to the Developers Collaborative for making this dream a reality for 35 families.