New housing development to cater to the elderly
Jan Mathia didn't want to leave Tonganoxie.
But she wanted to live in a senior citizen housing area where someone else would mow the grass and shovel the snow. So in October, Mathia moved to a townhouse in Lansing.
"The only reason I left Tonganoxie is because they didn't offer what I wanted," said Mathia, who had lived in the city for 34 years. "I wanted a really nice townhouse, but I wanted to own it I didn't want to rent it."
She learned last week that Mark Himpel and two others, home builder Steve Mock and Realtor Dan Lynch, were planning to build "Fall Creek Villas," a Tonganoxie housing area where senior citizens can purchase their units. Mathia said even though she loves her Lansing townhouse, she's interested.
"I might put mine up for sale and move back," she said. "I am so glad to see them doing that, because there really is a need."
Himpel said the 21-acre, L-shaped site south of U.S. Highway 24-40 (across from the Leaven-worth County annex) eventually would hold 103 housing units and a community building.
The prices of the units will run from about $90,000 to $112,000. If the buyers want to pay for additional home features, the group will work with them.
Plans for the basic units will run from 840 square feet to 1,110 square feet with a single-car garage. Buyers will have the option of building a home with a two-car garage.
Age restrictions apply to the property: 80 percent of the area is geared for age 55 and older, and 20 percent slated for those 45 to 55.
A plus for the property, Himpel said, is that residents won't have to drive on the highway to get to town, although the area will be accessible from 24-40. A back road will connect the development to Fourth Street.
Himpel said before putting their plans on paper, he, Mock and Lynch talked to local senior citizens.
"We've been out visiting with the elderly and we've had a pretty good response," Himpel said. "Since 1979 there hasn't been another addition done for the elderly."
That addition was Pleasant Village, in the 700 block of Pleasant Street. Units at Pleasant Village are rented and residents must meet low-income guidelines.
Fall Creek Villas will be different, Himpel said.
Residents will purchase the homes. Resold units must be sold to owners who fit the age restrictions.
Himpel said Fall Creek Villas is still in the planning stages.
"We're getting ready to bring something before the city in the next couple of weeks," Himpel said. "We're hoping to start building in early spring."
The group will start by constructing three model homes. The first of four phases will consist of 18 homes.
"From what we're hearing, 18 units isn't going to last long," Himpel said.
Mathia, who lives in a Lansing townhouse, said she thinks there's a big need for this type of housing.
"Hey, we're losing people to other communities," Mathia said. "They're going to Basehor and they're going to Lansing because Tongie isn't offering what they need."
Mathia, who still attends church on Sundays at Tonganoxie's West Haven Baptist, said she feels a strong attachment to Tonganoxie.
"I do miss Tonganoxie," she said. "I'd just rather have that 'Tonganoxie, Kansas' address at the end of my name instead of Lansing."