CHARLESTOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- Construction has started on the first phase of Springville Manor – a new subdivision reserved for seniors who currently own homes in the Charlestown, Indiana, neighborhood of Pleasant Ridge. 

Beverly Cairnes has lived in Pleasant Ridge for 62 years and is feeling the pressure to sell her home.

"I like where I am, why would I want to move?" Cairnes said. "It's very discouraging to have people want to come and take your house and knock it down.”

Now the city council is offering an incentive for more seniors to sell to make room for a large redevelopment project.

Charlestown's city attorney Michael Gillenwater says Neace Ventures LLC, the developer for several city projects, has purchased over 150 Pleasant Ridge homes. There are about 350 homes in the neighborhood.

"We are not trying to force people out, we are trying to encourage people to move into better housing,” Gillenwater said. 

$2.5 million of taxpayer money will subsidize 32 homes, reserved for Pleasant Ridge seniors 55 and older, in another Neace development project called Springville Manor on Fulkerson Road. 

"If we are going to ask people to move out of Pleasant Ridge to sell their homes that they have no mortgages on, we have an obligation really to put them in a very favorable position,” Gillenwater said. 

Through the program, the city and developer have put a plan in place to help Pleasant Ridge seniors finance the new homes that will be listed at $75,000. 

The developer will purchase their Pleasant Ridge home for $20,000. Then the city will offer a $20,000 loan, forgivable after living in the new community for three years. To finance the remaining $35,000 owed, the city is offering these residents a mortgage loan at 2% simple interest – payable when they sell or transfer the new home.

That means residents will not be paying anything back until they decide to leave the new development. 

Gillenwater says the homes are estimated to be valued at about $85,000, which means owners will be gaining $10,000 in equity if they purchase a new property. 

"It's a great deal,” Gillenwater said. “It's an offer that we think many people won't be able to refuse."

He says several seniors the city has spoken with, 85 percent or more, “have said they look forward to this” and are “anxious to get these homes constructed". 

"Almost all of them have indicated they would like to participate in the program,” Gillenwater said. 

But some residents, like Cairnes, say they are staying put and can’t be convinced to sell.

"I've been living here a long time, I like it here, I want to stay here,” She said. “You can't give me something else and say it's going to be the same, it isn't going to be the same." 

This affordable age-restricted housing is just phase one of the Springville Manor development. 85 homes are expected to be built in the new community.

The city says the goal is to have the first phase of homes completed by August of this year. 

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