Wilton Commons: Construction makes progress

For the first time in its decade-long existence, Wilton Commons is running ahead of schedule.

Construction on the senior housing project has been underway since April 12, the day after Gov. Dannell Malloy, First Selectman Bill Brennan, and other dignitaries put shovels into the ground for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

And now there is an opening date of February 2013, stepped up from next April.

With the foundation poured and some framing in place, the project is 20% complete, according to George Ciaccio, who has spearheaded Wilton Commons since its inception.

With the progress, Mr. Ciaccio said details on applying to live there are expected to be published later this month.

"We've got around 200 names on an interest list," he said. "We will let these people know the details" as well as publish information to the general public, but, he added, "things change."

A resident selection committee will interview prospective tenants. Because the development is financed using low-income housing tax credits there are income restrictions based on Internal Revenue Service regulations.

A building committee represented by Lee Marino of Wilton and Harold Parmelee of New Canaan meet at the site regularly to ensure all details are carried out to specifications, Mr. Ciaccio said.

There is also a decorating committee — Marilyn Hamilton, Judy Mabley and Courtney Kleeman — that is working on the selection of carpeting, upholstery, paint and wood trim.

"We still have committee work going on. We still have things to do before we open this place," Mr. Ciaccio said.

Wilton Commons is being built on a 4.8-acre lot leased from the town for $1 per year. When completed it will provide 51 units of affordable senior housing in the form of one-bedroom rental apartments. The building will be handicap accessible, and onsite staff, social events and activities will be provided.

The $10-million project is being paid for through a variety of sources: $2.6 million from National Equity Fund, $2.1 million from Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), $3.2 million secured by State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) and more than $2 million raised from more than 200 private contributions.

Construction is being overseen by the Mutual Housing Association of Southwestern Connecticut, a diversified nonprofit housing development corporation serving Fairfield County.