LANCASTER — Frank Salomone leaned on his cane as he made his way along the corridor of his new home Friday. But he had to stop to talk — a lot.
Not that he minded. The 69-year-old Salomone is a talker, and on this morning the building he lives in was full of visitors.
“Oh, this place is beautiful; it’s a really nice place to live,” said the Boston native, whose work for Pirelli — the Italian rubber company best known for its high-performance tires — took him around the globe.
“I’ve lived everywhere, including Sao Paulo, Brazil, he said.
The gathering, including a class of sixth-graders from nearby Lancaster Elementary School, was to help celebrate the official opening of Ice Village, a gleaming 20-unit building for residents age 62 and older.
Letters of congratulations from several of New Hampshire’s political dignitaries were read; Lancaster officials, including Town Manager Ed Samson, put in an appearance; and best of all for most residents, lunch was served.
The $3 million Southern New Hampshire Services project produced a gleaming new building that’s set on a six-acre site across from Ice Pond near the intersection of Routes 2 and 3, not far from downtown Lancaster.
Each of the one-bedroom apartments for single residents and couples offer 540 square feet of living space with a kitchen, bathroom, walk-in shower and closet space.
Bill Hart, a Hanover native who lives now in Belmont, is the SNHS housing and families development director.
He said the homes are aimed at individuals with an annual income of about $24,000, and couples with a combined income of $27,000.
“The people who live here pay 30 percent of their adjusted income,” Hart said.
Monthly rents are subsidized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and are designed to help residents financially by offering them a monthly payment that’s well below market rate.
“Pets are OK,” said Hart, adding that he believed each pet does have a 40-pound weight limit, however.
The project got started about five years ago when Manchester-based SNHS administrators identified Lancaster as a community “much in need of affordable housing for seniors.” The architect was David White of Goffstown, and Cheshire Builders of Swanzey was general contractor.
Yearlong construction was completed in spring, and the first residents started arriving in summer. Samson said the project has been well received by people in town.
“I have heard absolutely nothing negative about it. They’re probably one of the better neighbors in town.”
There was one bit of bad news though on Friday. Gale Hennessy, SNHS executive director, told the gathering that due to federal funding cutbacks, Ice Village would probably be the last of 25 such projects in New Hampshire and one in Maine for Southern New Hampshire Services.
“Oh, I guess we all just got in under the wire!” Shirley Lauzon, a Groveton native, said to her neighbors listening nearby.
The schoolchildren were on hand because their class had been assigned to name the village. Connor Bosse’s suggestion was the winner. As his classmate, Manika Druke, warmed up on violin for the solo she would play at the building’s front door, Connor said he thought his choice of names was a logical one.
“I wanted something with Ice Pond in it; I thought it would be good,” he said.