Editor’s note: The writer is referring to Article 16C on the April 6 Town Meeting warrant, which calls for spending $4 million in Community Preservation money to subsidize developer Grantham Group’s construction of 62 affordable one-bedroom apartments for people age 62 and over at Redbrook. The total cost of the project is estimated at $25 million.

Originally, I was surprised to learn that CPA dollars had been requested for this project. I know that nonprofit housing organizations often apply for and are awarded these funds, but I wasn’t sure about for-profit developers.

I browsed the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act projects database for examples of public/private partnerships for senior housing and did find other towns where CPA funds were successfully appropriated (Scituate) or loaned (Lincoln) to private developers/builders for similar projects.

Next, I wanted to better understand A.D.Makepeace’s obligation to create affordable housing at Redbrook. I looked up Plymouth’s Housing Production Plan and learned that developers have options that include public/private partnerships and land donations such as the one currently proposed for this project. This may not have been the original plan, but that doesn’t mean it is an illegal or illegitimate one.

I’m now 100 percent in favor. I have firsthand knowledge of what a positive difference quality housing can make in the life of an elder. I recently helped my 89-year-old mother move into an affordable building for low-income seniors in the town in which she has lived for over 60 years.  She was on a waitlist for 7 years. It should not have to take that long.

Use a combination of private and public funding to build a forward-thinking, dignified affordable apartment building for Plymouth’s elders.

Elise MacLennan

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