Elected officials, residents and faith leaders belatedly cut the ribbon on Scott Manor Senior Living Apartments in North County.
Elected leaders turned out this morning in north St. Louis County to celebrate the expansion of a senior living facility in an area where seniors often struggle to find a suitable place to live.
The pandemic precluded holding any sort of event two years ago when the first phase of the Scott Manor Senior Apartments opened in an unincorporated area of the county between Dellwood and Castle Point. This morning served as a delayed opening celebration as well as a groundbreaking ceremony on the second phase of the independent living development for seniors.
Officials, developers and residents say that the expanding facility is a sign of "momentum" in the area as well as a much needed resource for seniors in North County who don't want to leave the area but who can no longer stay in their homes.
Jackie Richardson, 81, says that she never expected to live in senior housing. But 15 years ago, the Dellwood resident's husband died unexpectedly, and she found herself in her house alone.
"If I needed a repair, there was no one to come help with the repair. If I had a problem, there was no one to come help," she says. "Being a senior citizen can be stressful."
She moved into Scott Manor in 2020, saying she appreciated being able to move into a facility where she can get the support she needs but also be near her church and community.
"There's plenty of quality senior housing out in west county, out in St. Charles," said Kevin Buchek, one of the developers in the project. "But there's no reason for folks in North County to have to move that far away from their neighbors."
County Councilwoman Rita Days (D-Ferguson) said the development is important. She's heard from many senior citizen constituents who were no longer able to stay in their homes by themselves but wanted to stay in their neighborhoods, near the places and people they care about.
Many of the elected leaders spoke of the importance of time they spent as kids hanging out with their grandparents in senior residences.
Cal Harris, chief of staff for County Executive Sam Page, told those gathered for the occasion that his grandmother lived her later years in housing similar to Scott Manor. "I remember sitting on the floor watching the stories with her, watching a lot of episodes of In the Heat of the Night,” he said. “I learned a lot from folks in buildings like this."
State Senator Angela Mosely (D-Florissant) said she too spent a lot of time as a youth with her grandmother and her grandmother's friends in a senior living facility.
Right now, Scott Manor contains 42 two-bedroom units. This morning, ground was broken on a new building that will have 50 more two bedroom abodes.
Jeff Smith, executive director of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, said that the development has a memorandum of understanding with the county. Scott Manor will double as a place where seniors can access social services including legal aid and tax preparation.
"To have a brand new place in a community that has suffered significant disinvestment helps tell people there is some momentum, there is new investment in this community," Smith says. "Our seniors can stay near their loved ones."
: A previous version of this story misspelled Jackie Richardson's first name as Jacque. We regret the mistake.