Affordable senior housing now open |

Affordable senior housing now open

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily TribuneKelly Ridge resident Violet O'Brien gave tours of her apartment on Tuesday during the complex's grand opening. O'Brien used to live with her daughter in Minden, but now has her own place.

Before Andrew Warner moved into Kelly Ridge Apartments, he was living in Gardner Mountain for $900 a month and had a hard time keeping up with the bills.

Now he’s moved into his new apartment and is paying $514 a month.

“I’m saving a lot of money and meeting a lot of neat people,” Warner said.

About 120 people attended the grand opening Tuesday of Kelly Ridge, the affordable senior housing complex at 1447 Herbert Ave.

Resident Carol Christensen said she’s grateful for the site.

“Unless you’re born with a silver or gold spoon in your mouth, it gets a little scary out there,” Christensen said. “It’s nice to have a dependable roof over your head.”

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Another resident, Florence Roach, said everyone is coming together to create social events for Kelly Ridge residents.

“We residents have joined together and made ourselves into a family,” Roach said.

The site has 30 one-bedroom apartments and two two-bedroom apartments. It also has a library, exercise room, community room, bistro, computer lab and wireless Internet.

The site has come a long way since construction started June 2008, Mayor Jerry Birdwell said. He credited David Kelly, whom the site is named after, for his efforts.

“I’ve always said that every community needs a David Kelly,” Birdwell said.

The Kelly Ridge apartments are the third affordable housing site Kelly’s helped build on the South Shore. The others are Tahoe Senior Plaza and Sky Forest Acres, which was completed last summer.

“Five years trying to get this built was a chore,” said Kelly, who is the Tahoe Area Coordinating Council for the Disabled president.

After four years of work, the project almost fell through. If it wasn’t for City Manager David Jinkens or Councilwoman Kathay Lovell, the lot would be vacant, Kelly said.

“They had my back and they got it done,” Kelly said.

Jinkens thanked Kelly for his idea.

“We all win because we have focused on the important need for quality and affordable housing, and we made it happen,” Jinkens said.

The new apartments help achieve the common goals of serving the community through housing and neighborhood improvements, Jinkens said.

Kelly Ridge would not have been possible without the federal, state, city and private entities that came together, said Laura Whittall-Scherfee, housing chief for California Housing Finance Agency.

The construction cost for the project was about $8 million, and major sources of funding were $4.73 million in tax-exempt bonds through the California Housing Finance Agency; a $3.4 million loan from the city of South Lake Tahoe through the state of California HOME Program; and a $906,000 loan from the South Tahoe Redevelopment Agency.

The senior population is growing fast, and projects like this are important to finish, Whittall-Scherfee said.