Last night, United Financial Group came before the Environmental Commission to request a special exception to fill in a small portion of wetland for two proposed apartment complexes for senior citizens. Forest Hill Highlands, as the entire project is called, is expanding in Franklin with these two new structures. There are already four structures that are part of this complex, and there could be almost a half-dozen more once the expansions are complete.
I welcome the addition of these buildings to the City of Franklin, and the developer's willingness to cooperate on a mitigation standpoint. My concern is not for the project, but for the senior citizens in it. As of right now, I have spoken with many seniors who are having issues with transportation going to & from their apartments. While many senior complexes house basic needs such as banks and salons, seniors should still be able to go grocery shopping at Pick n Save or pick up birthday gifts at Target, or even have a sub at Cousin's Subs. All three of these are very close-by to the Brenwood Park/Forest Hill Highlands complexes, but as the saying goes, "so close, yet so far".
While the Common Council continues to approve senior complexes and cut funding for Franklin Seniors, Inc, little-to-no discussion occurs in the Council Chambers as to what our newest residents and seniors are supposed to do when they begin to need transportation other than a personal vehicle.
Due to the senior complexes being so close to civic, medical, and retail facilities like the library, City Hall, Wyndham Village, and the Aurora medical clinic, one would assume that at the very minimum some seniors could walk or utilize sidewalks to get from place to place in warmer weather. Sadly, that's not even the case. The only facility within easy access to seniors is the post office, and that's due to it being located directly across the street from Brenwood Park. During the warmer months, I see many seniors walking to & from the post office to drop off their mail for the day. It's a shame that our seniors are essentially stuck with only going to the post office if they wanted to get out for a breath of fresh air.
The lack of sidewalks are just one issue in terms of no transportation for seniors. There still are issues relating to the shortcomings and rising rates of shuttle services for that age group as well.
As we all get older, we should be aware of the current facilities, or lack there-of, that seniors can both access and utilize. Thinking of the day when I likely could be in a senior apartment building, I certainly wouldn't want to have only the post office to be accessible from my apartment by foot.