BATH — Expansion of the Plant Home, expected to be complete by the retirement home’s 100th anniversary in 2017, will be funded by $10 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and Virginia Manuel, USDA Rural Development state director, visited the Washington Street facility Monday morning to announce the loans, which have terms of up to 40 years.
The Plant Home, named for founder Thomas Plant, has 37 private apartments in a main building, and 11 apartments in five duplexes and one single-occupant structure. The facility plans to build a three-story, 48,000-square-foot building to house 45 more units. It would tear down four of the duplexes and build two triplexes in their place.
The home, which looks out over the Kennebec River, has received site plan, developmental subdivision and contract rezoning approvals for the project from the city.
The loans should cover the total cost of the expansion, Manuel said.
Don Capoldo, executive director of the Plant Home, said this summer that the expansion in part will allow the facility to get its ratio of market-rate, private-pay residents to subsidized units “more in line with a figure that can sustain us in perpetuity.”
Thirty-two of its current apartments are for low-income residents, Capoldo said; the new building will contain all market-rate units.
The city has also expressed a major need for elderly housing, he said.
“So many people in this city know with absolute certainly that when you get old and sick, and if you run out of money, the Plant Home will be there for you,” Capoldo said Monday. “… This home was founded on a sincere belief that that those who had lived honest and industrious lives, and are without means and friends to care for them, have earned the right to be cared for. And that is what we long for, all of us.”
Capoldo added that “this project allows us to continue Mr. Plant’s vision for another hundred years.”
Maine is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, state in the country per capita, Pingree noted.
“Pretty soon, one out of every four people in Maine will be a senior citizen, and we need places like this, or more capacity in places like this, where residents can really feel at home,” she said.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, left, and Virginia Manuel, state rural development director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at the Plant Home in Bath Monday, Nov. 18, to announce $10 million in USDA loans to the retirement home.