By Denise Dick
Work is under way on moderate-income senior apartments at the Ursuline Center on Shields Road.
The Ursuline Sisters conducted a meeting Thursday with parents whose children attend the kindergarten or preschool at the center to clear up myths and misconceptions about the project.
The $1.2 million project will include 12 apartments in the west wing of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown Motherhouse complex, said Sister Nancy Dawson, general superior.
It’s the third phase of a project at the facility. The first $1.7 million phase was reconfiguring and updating the east wing of the Motherhouse for the nuns who live there. The second phase, which cost about $200,000 and is almost done, relocated Motherhouse business offices.
“We have 35 sisters that live in the house,” Sister Nancy said. “We would never jeopardize in any way their security or your children’s safety.”
The facility is equipped with cameras at every door to protect both the sisters and the children at the preschool.
The criteria for selecting the tenants of the apartments, expected to open in summer or fall of 2013, haven’t been determined, but the residents envisioned will be people 55 or older who perhaps lost their pension due to the recession, said Sister Mary McCormick of the leadership team.
It won’t be Section 8, the sisters said, referring to low-income, government-subsidized tenants.
Sister Nancy also assured the parents that nobody with a criminal record would be considered either.
She said the sisters welcome input and participation from the parents on the committee that will interview prospective tenants.
Though there are many facilities in the area where seniors with adequate resources can live, the area is lacking in those for seniors with moderate incomes, Sister Mary said.
“It’s independent living, not assisted living,” she said.
Some of the roughly 25 parents who attended the meeting worried about the prospective tenants and their visitors having access to their children.
The sisters said there won’t be access between the school and the apartments, and tenants will be restricted to particular areas of the facility.
“I assure you that we protect our own and you are our own,” Sister Nancy said.