IF THE Bath Planning Board agrees in February, Plant Memorial Home will get a $9.2 million, 48,000-square-foot addition added to the southeast portion of the Washington Street facility.

IF THE Bath Planning Board agrees in February, Plant Memorial Home will get a $9.2 million, 48,000-square-foot addition added to the southeast portion of the Washington Street facility.

BATH

Barbara Burns lives in one of the subsidized apartments at the Plant Memorial Home, a grand structure overlooking the “long reach” section of the Kennebec River at 1 Washington St.

Burns, 90, lives on the third floor, in what she calls her “penthouse suite.” It’s one of 48 private apartments — 37 of which are assisted living — in the home founded in 1917 by philanthropist Thomas Plant.

For years, she lived alone and worried about her finances. No more.

“I felt as if the monkey was taken off my back,” Burns said. “I don’t have that (worry) anymore. It’s perfect for me.”

If the Bath Planning Board agrees in February, Plant Memorial Home will get a $9.2 million, 48,000-squarefoot addition added to the southeast portion of the facility.

Gawron Turgeon Architects of Scarborough is designing the project, to be built on 30 acres, adding about 45 market-rate apartments.

Dan Daggett, president of the Plant Memorial Home Board of Directors, signed a $390,000 contract with Gawron last Thursday, along with board member and building committee chairman Cliff Zimmerman and architect Stan Gawron.

Administrators say the Plant Home is one of a very few in the country that financially backs private, assistedliving apartments for Medicaid eligible people.

“I love this place,” Burns said. “If it weren’t for this, I would probably have to live with one of the kids. I wouldn’t like that. They’re wonderful, but I’d just as soon leave them be.”

Officials said the Plant Home’s endowment is $2.9 million, and shrinking. The Plant Home will plow profits from the new apartments back into its endowment.

“It is part of Thomas Plant’s vision to serve the low-income elders, but over time, the endowment has been depleted,” said Don Capoldo, executive director. “The residents are keenly aware that the endowment has 10 or 12 years left. They don’t want to go anywhere else.”

Planning Board acceptance is expected. Capoldo and the board members expect groundbreaking in June or July, and completion by June 2014.

Each year, the Plant Home takes in about $70,000 in charitable donations.

The average income of residents, Capoldo said, is $9,980.

“Every day, someone runs out of money,” Capoldo said. “We don’t kick anybody out.”

The Plant Home has modified its construction plan, according to the concerns of neighbors. The addition will be built on a smaller footprint, but taller than first planned.

Gawron said he will attempt to comply with the Colonial style of the Plant Home and the neighborhood as he designs the building.

The facility was founded in 1917 by philanthropist and self-made manufacturing giant Thomas Plant, who purchased 30 acres at the southern end of Washington Street in 1916 and endowed the Plant Home with his own funds. It opened Oct. 1, 1917.

Plant placed on the wall an inscription that still hangs there today:

“This home is founded on my sincere belief that those who have lived honest, industrious lives and are without means or friends to care for them, have earned the right to be cared for. Only through the labor and expenditures of others is it possible …”

Daggett said clients pay $3,800 a month for a marketrate apartment. Eighteen people are on the waiting list.

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Plant Home expansion

¦ The completed project will:
— Create an estimated 20 permanent positions, not including
construction jobs.
— Add more than $1 million into the local economy through
the purchase of food, insurance, health care products, fuel and
other goods and services, and the additional salaries.
— Offer elder housing and health care opportunities in a
state that is aging.
— Save 37 elderly infirmed residents from being relocated.
— Prevent 37 additional elders from entering MaineCare.
— Save 26 existing jobs at the Plant Home from elimination.
SOURCE: The Plant Home


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