People, not buildings, are the core of the Wenham Maple Woods project

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This is  entry is a repost of Andrew’s Letter to the Editor, published in the Salem News, March 21, 2016. http://www.salemnews.com/opinion/letter-wenham-project-is-about-people-not-buildings/article_76882d5d-bbd6-5352-a5c0-9d3c0912ad8e.html

In the coming weeks, Harborlight Community Partners will be in Superior Court, where the fate of the proposed senior  housing project, Maple Woods, sited on Maple Street in Wenham, will be decided.

After three years of thoughtful planning, careful consideration of community concerns, responding to the needs of various  sectors, and eventually securing all permit approvals, this is not where we had envisioned or hoped we would be. But here we are. Some may ask why? Why would a nonprofit organization, with limited resources, choose to devote these  precious resources to this project? Why stay the course?

Mission. Our steadfast commitment to ensure members of our community have access to decent, quality, affordable  housing, most especially, our elders ” who deserve nothing less.

The impact of such goes far beyond the individual; it ripples outward to sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren,  employees, neighbors ” anyone who is concerned about or must care for a loved one approaching their golden years.  Knowing that a senior family member can live independently and affordably in a service-enriched, engaging and friendly  environment brings peace of mind that is truly priceless.

Perhaps this is best understood in the words of a caring daughter, who recently wrote us after her mother, a 25-year  resident of our Turtle Creek home in Beverly, had to leave her apartment. This family had originally lived on Puritan Road  on the west side of Wenham for many years. With her permission, we share this with you, as it exemplifies why we are  staying the course.

March 6, 2016

Dear Andrew:

I am writing to say thank you on behalf of our family, especially my sister Suzanne and me for the life-enriching  experience my mother, Georgette Hewson, enjoyed during her 25 years’ residence at Turtle Creek.

Our father died in 1987 at the age of 65, and my mother, a long-time resident of Puritan Road in Wenham, but then living  in a small apartment in Beverly, was left without much of a nest egg. Fortunately, a friend recommended Turtle Creek and  spoke about the fine management of the community complex for seniors without significant assets. After a waiting period,  her application for residence was approved in 1990.

Because of the caring environment, cheerful ambiance, thoughtful and responsive management, my mother soon realized  she had found a perfect home, making friends, participating in group outings, classes, and informal lectures. Throughout  her entire stay there, she was able to work a small plot of land on the grounds, planting annuals and perennials, enjoying  cut flowers in her apartment and even harvesting tomatoes. She especially enjoyed the company of the other gardeners  who in recent years tended raised boxes side by side through spring and summer.

My mother was able to live the independent life she cherished at Turtle Creek. Though she was invited to live with my  sister and her husband in her early 80’s, she was so happy there, it is only now, upon turning 95 years of age and facing  some health problems that she has relinquished her independence to go to New Mexico to be with them.

Our family is deeply grateful to the fine people ” her neighbors, the service coordinators and managers ” who looked out for  my Mom in recent years. We congratulate Harborlight Community Partners for the extraordinarily safe and positive  environment you have created for her and so many others.


Gail Hewson Hull

People, not buildings, are the core of this project and our mission. For all the Georgettes on the North Shore, Harborlight  Community Partners will press forward with vigor and dedication to bring Maple Woods to fruition. Thank you to everyone  in Wenham for your support. This is a community effort and we would not have gotten this far without you.

Andrew DeFranza

Executive Director

Harborlight Community Partners