Senior housing to get makeover

It is said that patience is a virtue. If that's the case, residents of Trefoil Court, a senior/disabled housing complex, have proven to be rather virtuous.

However, their patience will no longer have to be tested. The Trefoil Court complex will be getting a substantial make-over and initial work will begin in the next two to four weeks.

"It's about time," said the nothing-but-honest resident Marion Angelico.

A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Monday. Residents, members of the Fairfield Housing Authority and those that have been involved in bringing the project to fruition, and who will oversee the work, gathered to celebrate. Some donned hard hats and posed with shovels before heading inside the community building for donuts and coffee.

Architect Phil Cerrone, said what's special about Trefoil Court is that the fact that "We're dealing with people's livelihoods here."

"At the schools, no one's living there," he added. "Everybody here has taken a lot of pride in this project. I think the spirit of the whole community gets lifted when we do a facelift to the entire complex."

The eight resident buildings and the community building as well, will be revamped. That includes siding, windows, doors, gutters and leaders and new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) door levers (as opposed to handles).

Marilyn McNee, executive director of the Fairfield Housing Authority was excited to know that the work will soon be taking place. It took a year-and-a-half to get to this point, and that time included ridding some buildings of a termite problem. The homes are surrounded by woods. The winning bidder for the work was Bridgeport-based Leo Construction. The renovation work will total close to $280,000. It is being paid for by rents and a HUD subsidy, according to McNee.

Sue White, a resident of Trefoil Court for close to three years, wished the door and window replacement work wasn't scheduled to take place during the winter. However, McNee said residents can stay warm in the community building when work is taking place on their units.

White and others said they get a draft underneath their current doors. Yvonne Razdrih, a 13-year resident of Trefoil Court, said she can feel the cold coming through the walls.

Dric Grimes said he heard just the windows - and not the window frames - are being replaced.

Cerrone confirmed the frames will not be replaced but noted that weather stripping work and hardware replacement should provide for better sealing and energy efficiency. Re-siding and re-caulking, he added, should make everyone feel more comfortable in the colder months.

Representing the First Selectman's Office Monday was Selectman Sherri Steeneck, whose mother, Beatrice, happened to be chairman of the housing's authority's board of commissioners back when this project was in the "drawing stages." and who remained chairman up until this past April, according to McNee.

Trefoil Court is one of two properties in Fairfield overseen by the housing authority. The other is Pine Tree Lane. Pine Tree Lane has 38 units and Trefoil Court has 30. The work scheduled for Trefoil Court is the first multi-faceted renovation taking place there since the buildings were built in the early 1980s. The only thing done before this, exterior-wise, was roof replacement.

Dorothy Anderson, treasurer of the housing authority board, told the Fairfield Citizen that the renovation will do more than improve the buildings.

"Spirits rise," she said. "They will get a better feeling of self-worth, of `It's my home. It's lovely.'" Anderson added that when your home looks great, you want to do even more to beautify, such as putting flowers out front.

McNee said a mocha-colored siding will replace the tan siding currently on the buildings.

Angelico said the renovation will serve to enhance an already great community.

What does she love best about the place?

"My neighbors," said Angelico. "It's not like senior housing. It's more like a bungalow. It looks homey."