EAST PROVIDENCE, RI – More than 100 people gathered on Waterfront Drive Friday morning, June 24, for a ground breaking ceremony at Tockwotton on the Waterfront.
The 137,754 square foot, five story structure is the first to be located south of Interstate 195 within the East Providence Waterfront District. The $52.3 million project will be spread across six acres near Bold Point Park.
The non-profit Tockwotton organization is more than 150 years old. It’s current facility on East Street in Providence, built in 1864, can be seen from the new site just across the water. Construction on the new facility is expected to be completed by Dec. 2012.
Once up and running, the new Tockwotton will provide each of its 156 residents their own apartment with a private bathroom, Wi-Fi, cable television and telephone service. Additionally, the new community will enable couples to remain together while receiving different levels and types of support.
According to a press release, the new facility’s design will incorporate a model where residents can maintain their life-long routines within small, autonomous “households.” It will also include an assisted living residence with expanded common areas and modern amenities, a transitional-support household to help those who aren’t in need of 24-hour security but need more care than assisted living and a memory-support household that will provide specialized care and therapeutic activities for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments.
“With this new model, we’re trying to bring the meaning of ‘home’ back to the seniors in our care,” said Tockwotton Executive Director Kevin McKay.
“Our residents will have their own room, their own bathroom, and will have access to a kitchen to eat when they’re hungry. There won’t be long corridors or nursing stations, instead we’re creating households within the building to return a sense of intimacy to the care setting. As people age, we want them to maintain their dignity, privacy and independence. This new building will help us achieve that mission.”
Mr. McKay said the project also has economic upside. More than 600 temporary construction jobs are expected to be created along with 36 additional healthcare staff positions once the facility is open.
But this kind of project doesn’t happen overnight. Bringing Tockwotton from Providence to East Providence is a project more than seven years in the making.
Plans for the facility date back to 2004 with a financing deal struck earlier this month. Tockwotton secured $42 million through non-rated, tax-exempt bonds offered by the Rhode Island Health and Educational Building Corporation. The remaining $10.5 million will be raised from owner equity. Champlin Foundation has contributed to the effort, and a capital campaign is underway to close the gap. To date, $1.86 million has been raised towards a goal of $5 million.
Although Tockwotton is a non-profit organization, it has volunteered to make a payment in lieu of tax to the City of East Providence and will donate 1.7 acres of its waterfront land to the city, thereby extending public access to Narragansett Bay.
Among the several public officials who picked up ceremonial shovels at the ceremony’s conclusion was 103-year-old Tockwotton resident Evelyn Katzman.