Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2013

SALISBURY — Frances Campbell couldn’t wait to move into her new apartment. In fact, she drove by the construction site in various stages of completion.
She’ll finally get to move in later this week. Campbell is one of many residents who will move into the newly built Good Shepherd Gardens, an apartment complex for low-income seniors. The Salisbury complex is located at 335 Lumen Christi Lane, adjacent to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Good Shepherd Gardens is a joint venture between the Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corp. and the N.C. Housing Foundation, funded in part by a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“I’m excited. I can’t wait,” Campbell said of moving day.
The Salisbury native has been staying with her sister, Joyce Poteat, who joined her at the grand opening and dedication ceremony Thursday morning.
Campbell is on a fixed income. She’d seen the floor plans on paper, but didn’t imagine it would be as spacious in person, she said.
Incoming residents, their families and officials including Bishop Peter J. Jugis, with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, were on hand for the ceremony.
Those in attendance at the event were able to see the finished complex, which consists of 18 one-bedroom units. There is a two-bedroom unit for the night manager. The apartments are 540 square feet each and come with kitchen and living space. There is also an elevator in the building, pets are accepted and there is a laundry room on each floor, a residential garden area, computer/library and a multi-purpose activity room. Most of the units have been leased, with a few spaces available.
Jerry Widelski, director of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corp. said he believed 16 of the 18 units have been leased. He added officials believe those remaining units will be leased within the next month. There is a waiting list and a number of people interested in leasing, Widelski said.
Jugis led the ceremony with a blessing. Father Jason Barone, the parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, provided a scriptural reading. Then Jugis, accompanied by Barone, walked through the complex blessing the rooms.
“This housing corporation which we started was a response to senior housing needs throughout North Carolina, and, of course, as an expression of our mission of the Gospel, which is to bring Christ’s love and his peace and his presence to all people; and one way we do that is, in some small way, is the ministry of providing this senior housing,” Jugis said.
Margaret Brandt, who will be living in one of the apartments, has moved many times in her life, and she hopes this will be the final time. She’d been living with her daughter and then at Oak Park Retirement.
“It’s difficult to find affordable housing. This gives me a lot of independence,” she said.
She said she is glad for the extra space and that she’ll be able to bring her dog, a toy poodle named Pierre. She paints as a hobby and looks forward to painting in her new home.
“I’m excited. I was here when it was a blank piece of grass,” Brandt said.
Residents of Good Shepherd Gardens must be 62 or older. The maximum gross income for eligibility is based on household size.
Officials broke ground on the Salisbury property in October. Good Shepherd Gardens is the second project the Diocese of Charlotte Housing Corp. has undertaken. The first project was Curlin Commons in Mooresville, and the third, a project in Charlotte, is not yet complete.
For an application or more information, call 336-765-3906.