On Tuesday afternoon, tenants and staff of Walnut Place met with the project manager of the upcoming renovation to the senior housing complex, Lynn Berard, and two relocation consultants. The latter offered more information about the support that will be given to residents who will be temporarily relocated during the major remodel. The team described plans for an evacuation rotation, individualized accommodations, the reconstruction timetable, the use of greener building materials and, in general, how they will help residents approach the changes with less anxiety.
Construction of an addition to the front of the building will be ongoing, while the rotation for apartment remodeling will begin in the southeast wing when, with the assistance of professional movers, four lower-floor residents will evacuate for between two and four weeks. The renovation team views those first few apartments as the place where they will iron out any unforeseen “kinks.” The apartments above the first four will be next and, to ensure roofing noises will not disturb residents, roof repairs will be done concurrently. Next, the lower and upper units in the northwest wing will be done in a similar fashion and, finally, the front units and manager’s residence will be redone. The whole project is expected to take six to eight months.
Relocation consultants have interviewed each tenant over the last month, creating transition plans adapted to individual needs. Relocation expenses will be covered. Residents who are not planning to stay with family or friends will be offered primarily local accommodations. Some tenants have a special need to remain as close to the building as possible and the relocation team is hoping to place trailers on the B Street side of the property. Each trailer will have a stocked kitchen and bedroom and provisions will likely be made for telephone and television services. Other housing options include local B&B’s, where residents will be given a meal stipend, or nearby motels. Each resident will receive 90 and 30-day notices of evacuation.
Midstate Construction Corporation of Petaluma, which will be handling the reconstruction, has agreed to use less toxic materials in the apartments, including recycled carpeting and carpet pads without formaldehyde and paint and vinyl floors with no volatile organic compounds. Cabinetry will be either plywood or composite that is “below the state requirements for formaldehyde,” said Ms. Berard. The grounds will be made over so that all elements comply with ADA requirements.
Midstate’s contract requires them to do outreach to find Section 3 workers. Section 3 is a HUD policy to maximize the employment of low-income persons and, in particular, job-qualified recipients of government housing assistance. There is no guarantee the pool of workers will be local.
The team will continue to meet with residents monthly as the renovation nears, and individually as needed, to provide the smoothest transition possible.
Walnut Place is a 25-unit senior affordable housing facility in Point Reyes Station, currently owned by West Marin Ecumenical Housing, an EAH affiliate.
The prevailing winds of Peggy Day’s life have blown her in and out of West Marin at least four times since 1973. She raised three daughters here and now teaches her four grandsons to fly on magic carpets as they drift off to sleep. She has finally perched in Walnut Place.