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Senior housing meeting scheduled Saturday

| March 21, 2007 12:00 AM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Dedi Coy hears almost weekly about the need for more housing for Libby's elderly.

Now Dale Nelson wants to hear from Libby's senior citizens.

A real estate developer from Polson and a former Libby resident, Nelson wants to know what residents would like in the way of senior citizen housing because he is considering building here. He will host a meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 24, at the Senior Center at 206 E. Second St.

"I think it's wonderful," said Coy, project manager at the senior center in Libby. "I think assisted living would be wonderful and also, there is a need for generally good apartments for seniors who would like to retire and not take care of their homes."

Nelson said Monday his plans are preliminary, but he has a few Libby properties in mind for developing what he called a "senior campus."

"It may be a combination of senior housing and assisted living," he said. "We don't know how big it will be. It's really just in the beginning phase of finding out what the people really need. Hopefully people will step up and we can see what they need."

Libby has a few apartment complexes for senior citizens, including Green Meadow Manor at 403 Idaho Ave. and Treasure Manor at 610 Treasure Ave.

All of Green Meadow's nine studio apartments and 25 one-bedroom apartments are full, said resident manager Rhea Sunell.

The complex for those 62 and over has about two vacancies annually and offers rental assistance, Sunell said.

"I usually have four to five on a waiting list," she said.

Last year, plans were discussed for an estimated $1 million renovation at Treasure Manor. The 23-year-old senior citizen apartment complex has 32 one- and two-bedroom apartments. Treasure Manor offers rental assistance based on income for 24 of its apartments.

Nelson chose Libby for a possible project after talking to family here, who indicated the need for housing for the elderly.

Nelson three months ago visited Libby, where he looked at available housing and spoke to several senior citizens and local officials. He hopes to walk away from Saturday's meeting with more information.

"This is the feasibility phase. Looking at what they need so we can determine what it will cost to build," he said. "We've done this with other projects. We come in and try to see what the people want."

Coy, who daily works with Libby's elderly at the senior center, expects at least 50 people to attend the meeting.

"I think there will be a good turnout," she said.