YARMOUTH — Four months ago, operators of Bartlett Circle asked residents for help raising money to repair dilapidated housing units.
Now, thanks to continuing fundraising efforts and lower-than-expected contractor costs, construction has started. The 28-unit, low-income housing complex established in 1975 will get the repairs necessary for tenant safety and security.
In March, Executive Director Sandra McCatherin said Bartlett Circle had provided housing for older residents for 33 years without local, state or federal assistance, but it could do so no longer. The entrances to each home needed to be widened and ramps for wheelchairs had to be installed. The walkways needed repaving and the lighting had to be upgraded.
McCatherin said phase one of the improvements now under way will address safety, accessibility, and walkway and lighting upgrades. The second phase will include improvements to the community building, parking spaces, and green areas. McCatherin said the total project is expected to cost about $537,000, and $107,000 is needed by September to complete Phase I.
Bartlett Circle was created by a group of nine Yarmouth citizens concerned about their parents’ living situations. They formed Yarmouth Senior Housing, a non-profit organization with a volunteer board of directors, and were able to run the housing project on the low-income rent – until this year.
Recently, Bartlett Circle held a bake and yard sale to raise money for the improvements. McCatherin said nearly $3,000 was generated.
“It was a success because there was a lot of local participation,” she said. The Yarmouth Community Garden, the Yarmouth Rotary, and residents donated items to help support the project.
As a way to continue with local fundraising, McCatherin said she would like to reach out and work with area restaurants.
“We want to keep it as local as possible because it started with as community project,” she said.
The contractor, Gary Lapointe of Pownal, has already started removing trees and widening each entrance to allow for medical access.
“Gary is such a great guy and the tenants are so happy,” McCatherin said. “He is showing us how to save money here and there, and talking to the residents about the construction.”
Carroll Trufant has lived at Bartlett Circle with his wife Dottie for 10 years and is pleased with the upgrades.
“The rain might slow them down, but they should be done by the end of the summer,” he said. “They are doing a great job.”
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To donate to the Bartlett Circle renovation project, contact Sandra McCatherin at 829-4354 or visit bartlettcircle.com.