Special Needs Met: A New Wisconsin Development Showcases the Design of a Deaf Senior Community
Thomae, Joseph, Journal of Property Management
Imagine these retirement years:
You live in a familiar community, but alone in a building populated with people who speak a foreign language. You can't speak meaningfully with the grocer, barber, gas station attendant or mail carrier. You cannot speak their language because you can't hear it. They haven't learned sign language, so they cannot speak with you. You have been deaf your entire life. As you aged, your contemporary friends and family passed away or moved on. You are alone, isolated.
This is the future for many deaf senior citizens in the United States, but not in Greenfield, Wisc., a suburb of Milwaukee. September 2005 will mark the opening of the first Wisconsin apartment building for deaf and hard-of-hearing seniors, Water Tower View, a three-story, 43-unit elevator building with 44 underground parking stalls designed for deaf persons.
In 2000, Southeastern Wisconsin Deaf Senior Citizens (SWDSC), a 501c3 non-profit organization, was created to build on earlier, failed attempts to construct an apartment building to serve the special needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing seniors. One of the challenges they had was the absence of any predevelopment money or expertise within the deaf community for real estate development or fund raising. Fate met need when Clark Christensen, the founder and current president of SWDSC was introduced to Erich Schwenker, president of Cardinal Capital Management. Schwenker had helped with the development and construction of Hawley Ridge, an apartment building designed and built for the blind in …
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Publication information: Article title: Special Needs Met: A New Wisconsin Development Showcases the Design of a Deaf Senior Community. Contributors: Thomae, Joseph - Author. Magazine title: Journal of Property Management. Volume: 70. Issue: 3 Publication date: May-June 2005. Page number: 50+. © 1999 National Association of Realtors. COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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