What used to be a place where men prepared themselves for religious life has
become home to senior citizens who otherwise could not afford an apartment of
former seminary building at 10290 Mill Road was recently converted into an
apartment complex named Mercy Franciscan at Wanton Woods. To be eligible for
residency, applicants had to be age 62 or older and meet certain federal income
guidelines to be placed in one of the 73 apartment units, said Sharon Thornton,
executive director of Mercy Franciscan at Winton Woods.
The application process was conducted to ensure fairness, Thornton said. Numbers
were placed on the applications, and Internal Revenue and Housing and Urban
Development guidelines were used for eligibility. Applications housing units
began being accepted on March 27.
Response to the project has been tremendous, Thornton said. About 200 people
came to an information meeting March 6 to 1earn about the new apartment
residence and federal income qualifications.
"With rent being so affordable, people have been very interested in the
housing," she said.
Considerable renovation was done on the former seminary building, which has been
divided between dormitories and classrooms. The $7 million project by Mercy
Health Partners included gutting rooms, putting up new walls, purchasing new
furnishings and completely replacing the air conditioning and heating systems.
Providing affordable housing to low income senior citizens "has strong ties
to the Mercy mission, even to the grass roots of the sisters of Mercy,"
Thornton said. The seminary building also has a bit of historical interest, she
added. Tom Cruise, a movie actor, studied there for around a year before
abandoning plans for a religious vocation, she said.
There are plans for construction this summer of several garden homes and
cottages for senior citizens on the 110 acres surrounding the apartment
residence complex, she said. Also, assisted living quarters are planned on the
property owned by Mercy Health Partners under a proposed five-year 20-million
dollar development project.
Mercy Health Partners is an integrated holistic-based health-care network with
more than 85 care-delivery sites in Southwest Ohio and encompasses six
acute-care hospitals, four long-term care facilities, two social service
agencies, four urgent-care centers, health centers, hospice programs, centers
for health and wellness, outreach programs and an array of other programs and
services. Mercy Health Partners is a member of Catholic Health Care Partners,
the seventh-largest not-for-profit health system in the United States.