More than 200 people converged on Wilton Commons Saturday, June 15, for the formal dedication and ribbon-cutting of the senior housing project at 21 Station Road. Throughout the afternoon, groups of people \u2014 neighbors, donors, officials, and even those who helped build it \u2014 took tours of apartments opened by residents already moved in. To date, 24 leases have been signed in the 51-unit building. An overflow crowd spilled out of one of the public rooms to hear speakers testify to the determination of the committees that pursued the project over the course of 15 years of stop-and-go progress. They also heard a surprise announcement that the residence\u2019s first floor would be named for a Wilton couple \u2014 Frank and Judy Mabley. In introducing George Ciaccio, who guided Wilton Commons from the beginning, Ken Dartley said, \u201cHe had an idea 15 years ago and he didn\u2019t let it go.\u201d After many setbacks, \u201cwe would say, \u2018now?\u2019 And he said, \u2018No, I\u2019m going to go home and pray and start again.\u2019\u201d Mr. Ciaccio took to the podium to great applause and said, \u201cI think it is more impressive than I ever imagined. ... \u201cWhat we are celebrating here today is the culmination of hard work, persistence and prayer. \u2026 This building is more than bricks and mortar. It is a reflection of the good community it will serve.\u201d Mr. Ciaccio offered thanks to the following who were instrumental in the realization of Wilton Commons: \u2022 Nancy Hadley and Keith Cryan of Mutual Housing of Southwestern Connecticut; \u2022 Gov. Dannel Malloy and former Gov. Jodi Rell; \u2022 Connecticut Housing & Finance Authority for construction and long-term financing; \u2022 National Equity Fund for the sale of tax credits; \u2022 Department of Economics and Community Development for a grant allowing units to be affordable; \u2022 Funders including the Local Initiative Support Corporation, United Way and Fairfield County Community Foundation; \u2022 Building Committee members Harold Parmelee and Lew Marino; \u2022 Architect Evans & Contadino and builder Haynes Construction; \u2022 Ed Hyde and Don Marquardt, who offered legal expertise; \u2022 Treasurer Frank Rowella and Secretary Joan Starr; \u2022 David Graybill and Judy Zucker, who rallied the religious community; \u2022 Former Selectman Richard Creeth, liaison to the Board of Selectmen; \u2022 Ned Greene who came up with the name Wilton Commons; \u2022 Ed Raposa who identified the land Wilton Commons is built on; \u2022 The Decorating Committee of Courtney Kleeman, Judy Mabley and Marilyn Hamilton; \u2022 Webmaster Phil Richards; \u2022 Wilton Commons board members Inta Adams, Betty Jo Corridon, Frank Mabley and Del Overby; \u2022 Past and present legislators Toni Boucher, Gail Lavielle, John Hetherington, Tom O\u2019Dea and Peggy Reeves; \u2022 First Selectman Bill Brennan and the Board of Selectmen; \u2022 Buck Griswold, Ken Dartley, Linda Swayze and the late Bob Garland. Other speakers included Evonne Klein, state commissioner of housing; Mr. Brennan; Ms. Boucher; Jennifer Chadwick, chair of the MHA board of directors; and E. Bulkeley (Buck) Griswold. Rounding out the program were David Graybill, who offered the invocation and Lisa Chubinsky who sang the national anthem. Generosity Mr. Griswold recalled spearheading the effort to raise $2 million in private money to support the project. \u201cWe went to 250 families and raised the money,\u201d he said. That was in 2007-08, he said. By 2011-12, 96% of the gifts were still in place. Still, the committee was shy on private funding and Mr. Griswold went to one family and asked if they could help. \u201cThey gave over $250,000 to make it happen,\u201d he said, adding that in the fall, plaques will be hung honoring those who gave $20,000 or more. Instead of being publicly recognized, \u201cThat family said they\u2019d like to honor a couple that has been very generous \u2014 with the Kiwanis, land trust, church and Wilton Commons,\u201d Mr. Griswold said. To accommodate that wish, Mr. Griswold said, Wilton Commons \u201cwill name and dedicate the first floor in honor of Frank and Judy Mabley.\u201d No one was more surprised than the Mableys. \u201cI looked around the room and there\u2019s no one who doesn\u2019t deserve it,\u201d Ms. Mabley said of the honor. \u201cI\u2019m honored and blown away,\u201d Mr. Mabley said. The couple have lived in Wilton since 1974 and their children went to Wilton schools. In fact, they were supposed to visit their children in Massachusetts on Saturday, but Mr. Griswold insisted they needed to be at Wilton Commons, although he did not tell them why. While the announcement may have been a surprise, it was a welcome one. The Rev. Shannon White is pastor of Wilton Presbyterian Church where the Mableys are active. \u201cThey are salt-of-the-earth people who have given to so many people without the desire of recognition,\u201d she said. \u201cThey are a shining example of volunteerism. They sing in the choir, Frank is church treasurer and does hours of free service. Judy is on the worship committee. Without people like them congregations wouldn\u2019t be able to function.\u201d In addition to being a member of the Wilton Family Y, Mr. Mabley is also on the Y\u2019s board of directors and financial assistance committee. His is also the Kiwanis Club treasurer. \u201cFrank is the kind of guy that loves behind-the-scenes work,\u201d Mr. Griswold said. \u201cIn my mind he\u2019s sort of a Run Silent, Run Deep kind of person. He\u2019s just totally reliable.\u201d For Wilton Commons, Mr. Griswold said, \u201cHe oversaw every check and every pledge from 2005 until yesterday and will continue.\u201d Funding The $10-million cost to build Phase I of Wilton Commons was achieved through $2.6 million from the National Equity Fund, $2.1 million from the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA), $3.2 million secured by the state Department of Economic and Community Development and more than $2 million in private money. State funding consists of low-income housing tax credits, low-cost mortgage loans and grants. Wilton Commons Inc. has an 85-year lease agreement with the town of Wilton, at $1 per year, for the 4.8 acres of land on which it is built, a commitment valued at over $2 million.