Lacking an automobile, Virginia Seeman struggled to get bags of groceries home to feed the 12 children she raised in Pulley Homes, public housing near Bronson Avenue, years ago.
It was only a mile-long walk back from a store on Stickney Avenue. But it was quite an ordeal because of the amount she had to carry, according to one of her sons, Tom Seeman, who recalled his mother’s commitment and sacrifice Tuesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority’s new Collingwood Green Senior Community.
“One time when I was little, I was with her, and she walked up to a fire hydrant and she stooped down with these bags up against the fire hydrant, hanging onto these bags,” Mr. Seeman, chief executive officer of a research firm called Cutter Associates in Rockland, Mass., said. “It’s a testament to my mother.”
Mr. Seeman of Boston, a 1977 St. Francis de Sales graduate who graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Yale University four years later and received his law degree from Harvard University, was the ceremony’s honorary guest.
The ribbon-cutting unveiled the first phase of what some officials called a “new face” of affordable housing in northwest Ohio. “I hope that the people who are able to live in this beautiful building — much more beautiful than the buildings that we lived in — are able to appreciate it, take care of it, and develop some wonderful memories of their life in this housing the way we did,” he said.
The 65-unit building, which cost $12.7 million, was completed Friday. It is on Division Street and Belmont Avenue in central Toledo, and replaces former LMHA complexes Brand Whitlock and Albertus Brown. The site’s proximity to downtown and I-75 made replacing the previous buildings a top priority for LMHA, said Ivory Mathews, deputy executive director.
Mayor Mike Bell called the ceremony a “great day for Toledo.” Dozens of spectators attended.
“[This project] was a win-win from the standpoint of being able to uplift some people in an area that needed to be uplifted,” Mr. Bell said.
The building is the first phase of a $46 million project which will include 272 housing units for both low and middle-income families, a community building, and a seven-acre park.
“The celebration today is not because we are through,” LMHA Executive Director Linnie Willis said. “We have at least two more phases to complete on this campus while we are simultaneously moving forward with other housing development and preservation activities of affordable housing in this community.”
Mrs. Willis said LMHA hopes to break ground on the next phase in 2014. The senior community will house residents 55 and older. Thirty-three units have income-based rent and 32 units start at $569 a month. One-third of the units were preleased; residents will be able to move in June 24.
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