By Bonnie Adams
Marlborough – Residents of the 397 Bolton St. apartment complex were joined by local and state officials Oct. 8 to celebrate the completion of a $2 million renovation at the site.
The complex, built in 1965, has 60 apartments and is home to approximately 115 residents, many of whom are seniors, disabled and/or veterans.
The renovation project, which has been ongoing for the last 14 months, according to Douglas Bushman, director of the Marlborough Community Development Authority (MCDA), included improvements to the sidewalks, streets and landscaping as well as a new and expanded parking lot. Improvements were also made to the HVAC system in all of the units as well as the community room. Other renovations included tiling new floors, painting railways and replacing trim on the buildings.
The cost of the project was funded partially by residents’ rents and monies from the state Department of Community and Housing Development. In addition, nearly $50,000 in labor costs were saved, Bushman said, thanks to inmates in the Community Work Program (CWP) under the director of Middlesex Sheriff’s Peter Koutoujian office.
“They did a great job painting, laying floors and doing landscaping,” he said.
TM Masonry and a team from the Marlborough Home Depot did much of the work on the project. Other members of the business community had also donated thousands of dollars and products, he added.
Bushman also had praise for the leadership shown by Mayor Arthur Vigeant, who also serves as MCDA chair.
“He was so instrumental in getting the project going,” Bushman said. “He’s an absolute rock – there is no bigger advocate for seniors, the disabled or veterans than him. He, along with many of the city’s other public officials, are some of the most dedicated ones I have ever had the pleasure of working with.”
Before the ceremony to commemorate the project completion, the residents were treated to a cookout. Many local businesses graciously donated food, drinks and raffle prizes, Bushman said.
The renovation project was met with approval by the residents themselves.
“I think it’s just great,” said Ada Bryden, who has lived there for nine years. “Everyone did a wonderful job.”
“It really was a magnificent job,” Eloise Bradley, a resident for six years, said. “Everything is absolutely better.”
Deborah Sotile has only lived at the complex for two years, but she, too, had praise for the project, noting the enhancements improved the site “tremendously.”
During the speaking portion of the afternoon, Bushman, Vigeant, Koutoujian and others addressed the residents.
Koutoujian thanked the residents for the respect they had shown to the inmates who had worked there. It was a way, he said, for the inmates to not only give back to the community, but also a way to help them gain necessary skills as they prepare to re-enter society.
“Your respect and the dignity you have shown them makes them better men and better members of the community,” he added.
As he complimented those who had worked on the renovation, Vigeant noted that the residents themselves deserved credit.
“The biggest issue was trying to get it done without interfering with your lives,” he said. “Thank you for being so understanding.”
Other speakers included Patti Foti, chair, Bolton Street Committee; Christine Alessandro, executive director, BayPath Elder Services; State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton; and Alice Bonner, state secretary for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
Members of the Bolton Street Committee include: Patti Foti, chair; Donna Boulay, Marilyn Boyd, Georgianna Condry, Dru Duval, Paul Sliney, Sally Swartz, Linda Valerio and Valerie Wilkinson.