Old school to house senior citizens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 1999

Union Street residents Richard and Adele Graham are looking forward to a renovation of the old Carpenter 1 School.

The school will be turned into 38 one- and two-bedroom senior citizen apartments under a partnership of the city, county, United Mississippi Bank, Natchez Council on Aging, local investors and out-of-town investors and developers.

The Grahams live two doors down from the school. They came to a Tuesday public hearing about the project to get more information on the new apartments, which they say they support.

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&uot;It’ll be nice to have some new neighbors,&uot; Richard Graham said.

The project is estimated at $2.1 million, and will be funded through grants and loans. Currently about $1.28 million has been raised, through a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas and $450,000 loans the city and county secured from the Home Investment Partnership Program. The city is also applying for a low-interest loan for the project.

This is not the first time the city has found a new use for older, abandoned buildings the old General Hospital is now the Guardian Shelter, and Brumfield School houses low-income apartments.

&uot;We hope to continue the success the city has had with adaptive use projects,&uot; said James Johnston of the Southwest Mississippi Planning and Development District, which is helping plan the project.

Developer Fred Griffin of Housing and Finance Services in Jackson said the project will not change much about the school building.

&uot;We’re not going to disturb the exterior, with the exception of cleaning it up,&uot; he said.

A management company will likely run the day-to-day operations of the apartments and will make sure they stay clean, Johnston said.

&uot;We want to make sure it is very well maintained,&uot; Adele Graham said.

&uot;We don’t want anyone throwing six-packs in the bushes,&uot; her husband said.

Since the occupants will be senior citizens and the property will be managed professionally, Griffin said that was unlikely.

&uot;This will be a real asset to the north end of town,&uot; Mayor Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said, noting that once Oak Towers had been converted to the Guardian Shelter, &uot;the neighborhood came back to life.&uot;