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WHEATFIELD TO VOTE ON SENIOR CITIZEN HOUSING COMPLEX IS PROPOSED ON COMMUNITY-OWNED TRACT BEHIND TOWN HALL

Residents will vote Friday on the proposed sale of 10 acres of town-owned land for the development of a senior citizens housing complex.

The following two propositions will be voted on from noon to 9 p.m. in Town Hall:

Allowing the sale of land, behind the Town Hall, to Wheatfield Congregate Living Center for $125,000. A 123-unit complex, which would also include recreation and dining facilities, is proposed for the site.

Permitting the town to use money from the sale to build a day-care center and senior citizens meeting hall. A petition signed by 488 residents opposing the deal was submitted to town officials in early November, forcing a referendum. Residents accused officials of secret negotiations and failing to offer the same project to other developers.

Officials defend the project as a major step forward for Wheatfield, which in recent years has seen huge progress in commercial and residential development. The complex would be behind the Town Hall in an area originally earmarked for such projects, as well as a post office and a police station.

Some have complained that the projected apartment rent of almost $1,000 a month is too high for senior citizens on fixed incomes. The rent would include some meals, all utilities and shuttle transportation.

In response to these complaints, plans were changed to allow between 20 and 25 percent of the units to be government subsidized so low-income residents could afford to move in.

Officials want to build the senior citizens meeting hall to handle the increasing number of elderly residents who now meet in the basement of Town Hall.

Officials also have said that both children and senior citizens would benefit from a day-care center next to the complex. Some elderly residents might be hired to work there, they said.

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