SENIORS TOUT NEW APARTMENTS IN HOBART

Karen CaffariniPost-Tribune

Aurora Luna stood in her new home and considered her blessings.

The 83-year-old said she was diagnosed with two types of cancer—both stage 4— awhile back and given two to three months to live.

“And here I am,” Luna said with a smile.

And then there is her latest blessing — the new Hobart villa she and her 85-year-old husband Guillermo (Willie) were moving into last week. It has two bedrooms, one bath and an attached garage.

The Lunas were among the first people to move into the new Lake Park Senior Apartments being built by RealAmerica at 10th Street and Lake Park Avenue in Hobart.

“I never expected all this. The Lord is good,” Luna said as she named all the amenities available to her and her husband of 61 years, whom she said has dementia and a difficult time walking.

“We have more room, more closet space. And the best thing I like, is we pay half of what we did in our last place,” Luna said.

The Lunas qualified for subsidized rent, based on their income.

Hobart Building Official Mike Hannigan said temporary occupancy permits were issued for three of the villa buildings, each of which has varying numbers of units, following detailed inspections. He said while the interiors met all requirements, there still needs to be landscaping and some exterior painting and brick work.

Hannigan said construction is underway on two other villa buildings and the multi-story apartment building. He said construction should begin soon on four additional villa buildings.

There will be a total of 95 units, Jeff Ryan, vice president of development for RealAmerica, has said previously.

Ryan said 80 of the units will be affordable housing, with rents based on a sliding income scale and ranging from $300 to $600 a month.

Sabrina Hilley, property manager at the senior complex, said eight villas have been rented. Two buildings have been set aside for market rate rents, and some of these units are available, she said.

Aurora Luna’s sister, Rachel Vargas, was helping the Lunas move in while she anxiously awaits her own apartment in the complex. She’ll be in the multi-story building once it’s complete, around June, she said.

At another building, Dean, 66, and Lou Ann Eitel, 64, were already settled into their two-bedroom villa that overlooks a wooded area and has a small patio in back.

“I love it,” Lou Ann Eitel said, particularly because their previous apartment had stairs, which were to difficult for her to navigate because of knee replacement surgery and for her husband, who had back surgery.

Dean Eitel touted the bathroom, which is large, with a washer and dryer and walk-in shower. The extra bedroom is sometimes used by their great-niece Maddie, 3.

The Eitels pointed out that the complex eventually will have a clubhouse with computer and fitness rooms and there will be a pet-washing station.

Luna said she likes that St. Mary Medical Center and a drug store are nearby and they get a large discount on satellite TV service.

“I’m very thankful for the people who thought of all this,” she said.

Karen Caffarini is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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