A community to call their home

A Vista Meadows residents exits one of the buildings that were recently completed and had its official grand opening Wednesday monrning.

Officials celebrate opening of Vista Meadows senior complex
Officials celebrate opening of Vista Meadows senior complex

Carmelia Rocha, 84, enjoys that she has so much room to walk near her home, a one-bedroom flat at the Vista Meadows senior housing complex on East Park Street.

“Sometimes I’ll walk the hall,” she said from her apartment. “Sometimes I’ll walk outside.”

The cozy apartment is convenient for Rocha. She is originally from Portugal and has a heavy accent from her homeland. Her husband passed away a little more than a year ago, so she moved from Missouri to Hollister to be near a daughter.

Her home is decorated with an array of family pictures and a wide, horizontal photo of the Portuguese coast. She boasted about the deck outside her back door and said she enjoys everything about the flat.

Hers was one of two units on display Wednesday before a celebration to mark the completion of the $9 million project by Mid-Peninsula Housing and South County Housing, with funding help from the now-defunct Hollister Redevelopment Agency – about $3.7 million – along with the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, Local Initiative Support Corporation and Neighbor Works America.

US Bank provided a construction loan. National Equity Fund and JP Morgan Chase provided tax credit equity.

South County Housing initially received approval and financing for the senior apartment complex nearly a decade ago. The Hollister building moratorium started in 2002, after sewage leaked into the San Benito River, causing state officials to halt all construction within the city until a new wastewater treatment plant was built.

Officials with the involved nonprofits and government entities gathered at the site this week to commemorate the project, and to show off the relatively new digs.

The 3-acre Vista Meadow site includes two-story residential flats – 72 apartments that rent for $450 to 650 a month – and a one-story community center, along with gardens and a trellised barbecue area. The apartments are available for seniors with incomes no greater than 30 to 50 percent of the area median income.

 The two-story buildings have elevator access for seniors and a common laundry area. The site features solar photovoltaic and solar thermal panels on buildings and carport roofs.

Margaret and Ernest Estrada live in the other unit, a two-bedroom, on display Wednesday. They moved into the home in March 2011 from a house in Hollister.

“It’s more convenient,” she said. “He can’t do much yard work anymore.”

She did have one complaint when interviewed in her home – she said her bedroom wasn’t big enough to fit her nightstands.

Her husband particularly enjoys the social atmosphere of Vista Meadows.

“I like it,” he said. “You got to go out, socialize with these people. You can’t be a prisoner.”

After the homes were opened for visitors, the group held a celebration program during which scheduled speakers included Matthew O. Franklin from MidPen Housing, Mayor Ray Friend, Councilwoman Pauline Valdivia, Path Nash from J.P. Morgan Capital Corp., Bill Ritz with Sen. Anthony Cannella’s office, Vista Meadows resident Marie Gough and Betsy Wilson with MidPen Housing.

    It was followed by a ribbon cutting and lunch reception.

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