By DON STINE
Some Neptune senior citizens will be moving into brand new housing in a little more than a year thanks to the local Housing Authority and the Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
A grounding-breaking ceremony was held Monday at 2109 Wells Ave., one of two sites to be developed with the new housing with county, local and Meridian Health Care officials attending. Jersey Shore is part of the Meridian Health group.
“We support progress and progress is being made here,” Mayor Eric Houghtaling said.
The 50-year-old John Knox Homes at 19 Davis Avenue, which has 50 senior housing units and is near the hospital, will eventually be razed and a new medical health-care campus built that will include a new diagnostic and treatment building, a clinical academic center, support space for a regional medical school campus, additional outpatient service areas, and a cancer-care center.
The 50 new housing units will be build on properties at Wells and Taylor Avenues, near Neptune Boulevard., and seniors from the old units will be moved into the new units.
The $13 million project will be gated communities with security passes required to get in. They will all be one-story and have front and back doors, a community room, laundry rooms and be built with energy-efficient materials.
The Knox units are mostly one-bedroom units with a few two-bedroom apartments. The new units will be all one-bedroom units and rents are subsidized by the federal Housing and Urban Development agency.
All Davis Avenue residents will be moved to the new complex and each will maintain their original apartment number. There will also be counselors on hand if the seniors need help.
Meridian Health officials also said the housing project, which has been in the works for nine years, is a great moment for everyone.
“We know how to give back to the community and this project is a great example,” Meridian Health President John K. Lloyd said.
“At the end of the day this project will go a long way to improve health for our seniors and improve our medical campus,” Jersey Shore President Steven G. Littleson said.
And township Housing Authority officials agree.
“This is a great day for Neptune and our seniors. In about one year seniors will be able to turn their keys and enter their new doors and the residents of John Knox will move over here,” Housing Authority Chairman Edward Green said.
John Knox housing resident Susan Wilson said the apartments will be beautiful and that the seniors are all excited about moving in.
“This shows how special Neptune is and how it takes care of its seniors,” she said.
Social workers and professional help will be brought in the make the senior’s transition as easy as possible.
“We are also proud to be living in the same state as one of the greatest hospitals and this move will help us maintain our pride, dignity and independence,” Wilson said.