LANSDOWNE — A $12 million project to provide more affordable senior apartment housing is under construction in Lansdowne.

Shovels went into the dirt recently to start the construction phase of the Simpson Gardens II building in the first block of North Lansdowne Avenue. The new building will provide 41 new single- or double-occupancy units right next to the Simpson Gardens I building on the same block that was opened in 2014. The expansion will double the number of units that are in the first gardens building.

The project is a broad public-private collaboration among Simpson Senior Services, The Garden United Methodist Church, The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, and state, county and Lansdowne governments.

Simpson Gardens I was a fulfillment of a dream by Garden United Methodist Church according to Simpson President and CEO Kim William, and Simpson Gardens II will continue that dream.

“Now that we are developing, it is really a continuation and expansion of that same dream,” he said. “The ground on which we are gathered today is a sacred and historic home of the Garden United Methodist Church. It has served this community for decades as a United Methodist congregation. As the congregation considered its options, a partnership with Simpson Senior Services seemed to make the most sense and emerged as the desired choice of this congregation.”

To make room for the new Simpson building the church will have to be razed. But with that, a 1,200 square feet worship space will be built into the new building, complete with church offices. The stained glass and other pieces of the church will be incorporated into the new space.

Garden Church Pastor Rev. Evelyn Kent Clark said the eight years of proposing the Simpson Gardens II up to the recent groundbreaking “makes it all worth it.”

“The vision was to build a new and inviting sacred space of worship for the members of the garden church, the members of the Lansdowne community and its environs, and to provide a safe, beautiful state of the art, low-to-moderate income housing for seniors,” said Clark. “We could handle the worship space aspect of the vision, but we needed help to address the senior housing.

“With Simpson Gardens standing tall in our view everyday ... we turn to Simpson Senior Services as our partner once again. This partnership will be a model for churches, communities and businesses all over the world: the concept of the church and the community existing in the same building.”

Simpson Gardens II is expected to open next summer. Funding was provided by $1 million in Delaware County HOME Funds and more than $10 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit funding.

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