Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Littleton Profile Part IV Caring for Seniors

Part four of a five part series
Parts [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V]

A Covered Footbridge connects the center of town with Littleton's Senior Center

Caring for Seniors

In building a sense of community Littleton has kept an eye on both its workforce and those who are no longer in the workforce. A beautiful new Senior Center is joined to Main Street by a handicapped accessible covered walking bridge across the Ammonoosuc River, allowing for the movement of people between Main Street and the Senior Center. The bridge is a centerpiece of a larger effort called “Riverwalk” intended to connect the Main Street with the Ammonoosuc River. Through an aggressive effort to secure grants Littleton has pumped more than 1.4 million dollars into this effort. Highlighting the economic efficacy of such investments is the new Riverglen Retirement Complex a beautiful privately owned assisted-living community. One could hardly imagine a better-situated spot for mom or dad when they are no longer capable of living alone. Senior transportation also provides the opportunity to go further a-field.
A new thirty million dollar hospital is also a great source of pride for the community and provides quality healthcare as well as employment opportunities.

Affordable Housing for the Workforce
Private/Public Partnerships and collaboration between nonprofit organizations and businesses also have played an important role in the towns success. In 1991, David Wood, a community activist and social entrepreneur, spearheaded the development of an affordable housing organization called AHEAD (Affordable Housing, Education and Development). In its thirteen years of existence AHEAD has developed or acquired more than 250 units of housing to maintain a stock of affordable housing within the area. Among these is Ammonoosuc Green, a 17 unit building that has gone from eyesore to centerpiece in the development of Littleton’s social capital. Don Jutton, formerly town manager of Littleton and a key player in the Littleton renaissance says of AHEAD, “I really like the way AHEAD provides a hand up, not a handout, to families in need." AHEAD has recently begun to develop more than 100,000 square feet of space in the old Littleton Hospital building employing an entrepreneurial mixture of commercial space and affordable housing to finance its future. Wood says there is still plenty of commercial space for new businesses but they already have 13,000 feet of commercial space rented and are preparing to move forward on a seventeen unit affordable housing project for low income elderly.

Parts [I] [II] [III] [IV] [V]

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