Jean Bergeron has called the Earl Bourdon Centre home for the last three decades.
“I've been here 35 years, I came here when it opened,” said Bergeron.
The building doubles as an independent living facility and a senior center. Lunch is served daily and is open to anyone in the community. Organizers say as many as 50 seniors a day come to the center for a hot meal.
“It’s more of a social time, where I come down to eat with people and we talk,” said Bergeron.
But there's one thing stopping some people from visiting -- the parking lot.
“It does get very full and when there is a particularly good meal being served that day it is a little difficult to find adequate parking,” said Alison Ganon, Community Manager of the Bourdon Centre.
Not only is the parking lot small it’s a pretty far walk to the door and the path is difficult for some seniors to navigate.
“It’s been kind of sad when people can't get here when people can't get here to meals when they need it,” said Louis Remi Gendron, President of Claremont Senior Citizens.
Seeing the problems Gendron spearheaded a campaign to find a solution. And just last month the facility was awarded more than $185 thousand dollars in federal grant money to build a new parking lot.
“So they'll be able to park closer to the room where the amenities are served,” said Gagnon.
A simple solution that not only will be more convenient for visitors but safer too.
“It’s going to be great, not only for the residents, but for the people living outside also,” said Bergeron.
Construction on the new parking lot is set to begin this summer and should be available for use shortly after that.
This is a list of the other projects in New Hampshire that have been approved by CDFA’s Community Development Advisory Board:
• The City of Concord, on behalf of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will receive $155,000 to expand the NAMI office. The grant will help pay to make the facility ADA compliant and make space for additional service offerings for clientele.
• A $500,000 grant will go to the Town of Derry to replace the drinking water system at the Centennial Estates Cooperative. The 1960s-era septic system is prone to leaks and contamination of the drinking water. This work will add a reserve well, modernize all the piping, and ensure clean, safe drinking water to the co-op’s 53 households.
• An award of $270,000 will go to the City of Keene for the rehab of Meadow Road apartments. The facility, operated by Keene Housing, needs major improvements to its heating system and other capital improvements. The rehabilitation work will address health and safety concerns as well as energy efficiency for the 18-unit affordable housing facility.
• The Town of Winchester has been awarded $500,000 to benefit Woodcrest Housing, aka Wedgewood Duplexes. The funds will allow Southwestern Community Services to acquire fifteen duplexes and make needed improvements to infrastructure, safety, and energy improvement. It also prevents the need to demolish these homes.
• A $185,590 grant has been awarded to Sullivan County to make infrastructure improvements to Claremont’s Earl Bourdon Senior Center. The award will pay for an overhaul of the 80-unit facility’s parking lot. The current layout makes it difficult for senior meals programs to make deliveries to elderly residents at the center.
• Belknap County will receive a $250,000 grant to assist the Laconia Area Community Land Trust’s construction of the River’s Edge project. This 32-unit, three-story facility downtown on the Winnipesaukee River will help mitigate the significant waiting list for affordable housing in Laconia.
• Also to Belknap County, a $250,000 grant has been awarded to acquire Laconia’s St. James Church for the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakes Region. The money will be used as gap funding, allowing the group to purchase their first permanent clubhouse in seven years.
• A $500,000 grant has been made to the City of Laconia to renovate the Laconia Housing Authority’s Strafford House. The 100-year old building is in desperate need of major upgrades, including energy improvements. The facility consumes 29% more energy than the national average for a building its size. Financial savings from the work will offset operational costs.
• The Town of Gilford, on behalf of Old Lake Shore Cooperative, will receive $418,000 to improve deficient infrastructure at the co-op. An estimated 7,000 gallons of drinking water are lost to the wastewater system each day. The repair work will eliminate leakage, contamination, and bring the system into compliance with federal environmental regulations.
• A $250,000 grant will go to the Town of Stewartstown for water and drainage repairs to the Northern View Apartments. The work will improve drainage issues which have caused coliform contamination in the building’s water supply.
• A grant to the Town of Errol will be used for much-needed improvements to the town’s water system. The $500,000 award will partially fund new water mains, well pump controls, improved sanitation systems, and water meters for all system households.
• A grant of $500,000 to Coös County will go toward the repurposing of Berlin’s abandoned Bartlett School. This building has been a neighborhood eyesore, steadily deteriorating because of flooding and mold growth. Work will completely rehab the structure and create 13 new units of affordable housing.
• The City of Berlin’s $500,000 grant will be made to support its Neighborhood Revitalization program. This ongoing initiative has rehabilitated 65 housing units in blighted areas, making them energy efficient, lead safe, and code compliant.
• An award to the Town of Pittsburg in the amount of $500,000 will be used for Phase II of its water system upgrade. The first phase replaced the 1930s-era water system which was prone to leakage and contamination. Phase II will replace the remaining 3,100 feet of water main.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.