Unfinished housing already popular Severna Park complex for the elderly draws reservations, inquiries

November 28, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A partly completed housing complex for the elderly in Severna Park that is not expected to open until spring has drawn several dozen inquiries about room openings.

Construction crews have erected turret-style roofs and exterior walls of the three-story, 137-suite Sunrise at Severna Park, adjacent to the Severna Park library on West McKinsey Road.

Fifteen apartments in the 60-unit independent-living center have been reserved, and 47 people are on a priority list to rent the others, said Leslie L. Leppado, executive director of the complex, which is being built by Sunrise Assisted Living Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

Two suites in the 77-unit assisted-living center have been reserved, and eight people are on a list for other units, she said.

"We have a lot of people who are interested," Leppado said. "I'm surprised by the response."

Linstead residents John and Evelyn Gass have reserved an apartment in the independent-living center. The couple said they decided to move to the complex after they realized they could no longer take care of the four-bedroom ranch-style house where they have lived for 47 years.

"We're very grateful because it's close to home and we can still be with our friends," said John Gass, 89. "It's a nice place, and that's why we chose it."

Leppado said the Gasses highlight the need for a place such as Sunrise, which has a similar center on Bestgate Road in Annapolis.

"Severna Park as a community has been aging, and the elderly people want to stay in Severna Park," she said, adding that about 75 percent of those who have reserved rooms are from the area. "They don't want to leave."

Leppado attributes the interest in the $10 million retirement community to Sunrise's partnership with North Arundel Hospital and Woodswise, a nonprofit group affiliated with Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church.

"People are comfortable with both of those organizations," she said. "People trust them."

Michael Parsels, a Sunrise development officer, estimates that the project is 50 percent complete. The rest of the construction involves the rooms and a 21-space parking lot.

When it opens, the complex will have picnic tables, gardens and a walking path to give the 10-acre property a rustic atmosphere, Parsels said.

"We're trying to provide them with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors," he said. "It's really for the benefit of the residents."

Leppado and Parsels sought to forestall any concern that the two centers would generate too much traffic. They said the 100 employees at the complex would be divided into three eight-hour shifts and that the centers would have an eight-seat van and a 15-seat bus to transport assisted-living residents.

"And the independent residents simplify their lives," Parsels said. "They drive less and they share cars and they go out as groups."

Rick Zablocki, president of the Greater Severna Park Council, said he thinks the area is well equipped to handle the complex.

"It's on a main road, it's close to services, and it's centrally located," he said. "It's the right thing in the right place."

Pub Date: 11/28/96

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