WILTON, Conn. -- Officials celebrated the groundbreaking of new senior housing in Wilton Wednesday morning and for one man it was an especially sweet moment.
George Ciacco, chairman emeritus of Wilton Commons GP, said creating Wilton Commons faced many obstacles over the years as he and others pushed to have the project approved.
"You can never be doubtful in a project like this," he said following the ceremony. "You've got a goal and that's what you strive for and you are going to have setbacks and we did have setbacks."
The 23 units are termed congregate housing, which is for people who need some daily assistance including one hot meal a day and light housekeeping.
The units will be in a new wing that will be attached to the 51 independent living units that have housed residents since 2013. The new wing will be attached to the existing unit by the second and third floors via walkways.
Wilton Commons, Inc. in partnership with Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut, Inc., was awarded $5,691,764 in capital funding to construct the 23 units. Phil Lauria, chairman and president of the Board of Wilton Commons, said the organization is hoping to receive its certificate of occupancy by Sept. 30.
He said anyone looking for independent living or congregate housing for themselves or for family members should look towards Wilton Commons.
"Please look at Wilton Commons, it is really a jewel of a place," he said.
Currently, 63 percent of the residents in Wilton Commons are either long-time town residents or have a family connection to Wilton, Ciacco said.
Throughout the ceremony the sound of hammers and power tools could be heard as workers continued without pause to erect the building.
There is a waiting list ranging from 50 to 60 people at any one time for Wilton Commons independent living wing, Lauria said.
The new Wilton Commons Congregate building will enhance the Wilton Commons complex with more lounge space, an activities room, a community room, additional staffing and program space. The existing Wilton Commons Phase I structure provided a number of essential features to support the building for Wilton Commons Congregate including additional common space for tenants of both units and commercial kitchen. A large generator will provide emergency power.
Most of the individual units are 650 square feet and designed to have an open airy feeling, with large oversized windows to reinforce connection to the outdoors. Public areas were also designed to feel open and airy. The lounges were designed to feel like a nice living room and hallways are well illuminated and provided with natural light and windows to connect people to the outdoors. Hallways throughout the complex incorporate small sitting areas for moments of respite and chance meetings with neighbors.