Melody Jacobs, director of human resources and community relations at the Welsh Mountain Home, and resident John Buckwalter hold an image of Mountain View Terrace, a rental complex, which will house individuals and couples of less than median income who are over the age of 62. Welsh Mountain Home leadership hopes to begin construction of the new facility by the end of the year.

By Ann Mead Ash

Welsh Mountain Home Prepares To Build

An oversized architect’s rendering located at Welsh Mountain Home shows an attractive three-story building with multiple roof lines and an inviting covered entryway. The 36-unit apartment complex pictured has been on the wishlist of executive director Andy Maines for at least three years.

By the end of the year, Maines surmises that ground will be broken on the complex, Mountain View Terrace, a new rental facility that will house individuals and couples of less than median income who are over the age of 62. More than mere apartments, the plan calls for amenities important to seniors, such as the availability of a physician each week, podiatry services, pharmacy delivery, and organized shopping trips. The total cost of the project is estimated at more than $7 million.

The new facility will be constructed in an open field across the road from the Welsh Mountain Home, a local institution that joined forces with Landis Communities in early 2013. The Welsh Mountain Home is a nonprofit personal care facility that has been serving area residents on 50 acres at 567 Springville Road, New Holland, since the 1920s.

Maines noted that a market study was first conducted in December 2010, and an application was filed with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) shortly thereafter. The original application was not approved in what Maines described as a very competitive environment.

In February 2013, the home applied again. This time the petition was accepted. “There were 70 applications, and only 23 were approved,” noted Maines, stating that he was grateful to Sen. Michael Brubaker, Rep. Gordon Denlinger, and the Lancaster County commissioners for their support. Maines added that an on-site visit from the current CEO of PHFA also helped the organization clear the hurdles of the difficult process.

Approval means that nearly $600,000 in funding will be available to help construct the new project. Other funding for the building will be provided by Lancaster Counting Housing and Redevelopment authority and Low Income Housing Tax Credits from PHFA.

Of the 36 units, 32 will be one-bedroom apartments, and the other four will be two-bedroom apartments, according to Maines. Applications by area residents who wish to rent the units will be evaluated based on income rather than assets.

While the organization is looking forward to beginning construction across the street, the Welsh Mountain Home has undergone a bit of sprucing up over the summer. Area residents who travel around the bend along Route 897 will now see the home’s new four-season room where the former open porch stood. “Now the residents can enjoy the porch year round,” said Maines. New signage has been added as well.

Providing an environment where services for the aging can be delivered with dignity has always been a goal of the Welsh Mountain Home. Before 1900, the Lancaster Mennonite Conference had established an outreach focused on helping to create jobs in the Welsh Mountains, but eventually, the focus turned to meeting the needs of senior residents.

Current leadership recognizes the need for affordable housing for senior citizens living in the area today. The response has been to search creative solutions that provde not only shelter but also services that are important to this age group. According to Maines, the goal remains to provide Christian care that focuses on individual respect.

Readers who would like to learn more about the Welsh Mountain Home may or call 717-355-9522.