Senior housing units celebrate double anniversary

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 1, 2001

Ray Waldron, the new president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, is scheduled to be in Albert Lea on the afternoon of Sept.

Saturday, September 01, 2001

Ray Waldron, the new president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, is scheduled to be in Albert Lea on the afternoon of Sept. 9 to be a part of the program for two special anniversaries. One is the 30th year of operations for Senior Court, and the other is the 20th anniversary for the adjoining Senior Tower.

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A short program will take place between 2-4 p.m. Plans are also being made to show several apartments in the Senior Court. Coffee and cookies will be served.

Living quarters for about 160 area senior citizens had its initial start in 1965 when the Trades and Labor Assembly, AFL-CIO, was asked by the City of Albert Lea Housing Authority if it would be interested in sponsoring a special residential project. The assembly, representing the various labor union locals in the Albert Lea area, accepted the challenge. Within a few years a separate board of directors was organized to supervise the construction and operations of the city’s first housing structure for use by senior citizens.

Serving on this first board were Harvey Paulson as chairman, Charles &uot;Chuck&uot; Lee, Clayton Slater, Alton Horvei, Don Klukow, Orville Westrum and Glen Hammer. Paulson was also the president of the Trades and Labor Assembly in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

The first structure for the senior citizen tenants was built at the corner of Maplehill Drive and Plainview Lane. Thus, Senior Court, 915 Maplehill Drive, was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1971.

This building now contains 76 residential units. There are 37 one-bedroom apartments, 35 efficiency apartments, and four two-bedroom apartments, which includes an apartment for the live-in couple who manage the building.

Within a few years the board for the Trades and Labor Assembly Senior Housing Inc. felt there was a need for an expansion project to provide still more units &uot;for independent living.&uot;

Thus, another building was built just to the north of Senior Court on Maplehill Drive. And on Oct. 17, 1981, Senior Tower at 905 Maplehill Drive was dedicated.

This newer building has 82 apartments,including one for the live-in managers.

One of the obvious features is the skywalk between the third floors of the two buildings. This is the only structure of this type in Albert Lea. It provides an all-weather connection for the two buildings so the residents can move back and forth to participate in various activities, or for visiting. The walkway also allows the residents of the Senior Court to have easier access to the senior nutrition program in the dining room of the Senior Tower.