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Yarmouth businesses, residents help Bartlett Circle approach fundraising goal

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Yarmouth businesses, residents help Bartlett Circle approach fundraising goal

YARMOUTH — Initial upgrades to the senior housing units at Bartlett Circle were completed last week, but operators of the non-profit organization still need about to raise nearly $45,000.

Beginning in March, operators of Bartlett Circle began a fundraising campaign to raise $107,000 for repairs to units that had become dilapidated. By June, contractors were working on upgrades to the 28-unit, low-income housing complex, and by last week, construction was complete. Residents now have new walkways and lighting, and wider entrances.

Sandra McCatherin, manager of Bartlett Circle, said she is grateful to all who have contributed to the improvements. 

"We worked hard all summer, and want to thank local businesses and residents for their help," she said. "The residents are so happy they can get around safely, and those with walkers don't have to go up steps to get into their apartments anymore."

Bartlett Circle was created by a group of nine Yarmouth citizens
concerned about their parents' living situations in 1975. Since then, the housing complex has been providing senior
independent housing without local, state or federal
assistance. They formed Yarmouth
Senior Housing, a non-profit organization with a volunteer board of
directors, and until this year, could run the housing project on the low-income
rent.

Margaret Downing, president of Bartlett Circle, said the cost for the Phase I improvements was estimated at about $340,000, with nearly $232,000 raised internally. She said the goal was to raise $107,000 publicly for this phase, but there is still about $45,000 left to raise.

"We had a solid start to the funding of the Phase I improvements, and felt justified in starting construction without all the money," she said. "We didn't feel we could wait another year to address the safety and accessibility upgrades."

Downing said will tap into its reserves and take out a line of credit to pay contractors.

"We have our work cut out for us in the next couple of months," she said. "But there are more events and fundraising activities in the future."

In addition to a restaurant dining campaign that raised nearly $2,400, the Rotary Club donated $5,000 to the cause. The First Parish Church held a benefit dinner last week and collected more than $1,000. The senior housing complex was also named the recipient of the third annual Pumpkin Run held Oct. 31 at Yarmouth High School. 

After fundraising is complete for Phase I, McCatherin and Downing have Phase II to tackle. The second phase is estimated to cost about $160,000 and will include upgrades to the community building, parking spaces and green areas.

According to Downing, the second phase will enhance the existing community center to act as an emergency shelter if needed. She said there should be a safe place for residents in case of a power outage or other emergency.

"The next phase will include a different approach, without public funding," she said. "We are looking into grants and other funding sources."

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net