Senior housing project in Ishpeming has much merit

Word this week that a developer was looking at a site in the city of Ishpeming to locate a senior citizens housing project is generally viewed here in a positive light.

In fact the location in the west end city’s downtown that is being considered is the site of the former Bell Memorial Hospital.

The Ishpeming City Council this week reviewed a presentation that contained a handful of details the panel — and city residents in general — should pay attention to.

For example, the $5-$7 million project would consist of a two-story building with 16 residential units, administrative offices and a community center as well as five detached structures each containing four residential units

Here are a handful of other important statistics. According to Michigan State University, 14.1 percent of Michigan’s population as of the 2010 census were senior citizens (people over the age of 65) and 34 percent of all residents were 50 or older. Nationally, the number of seniors is expected to grow to 20 percent of the overall population by 2030.

Put another way, as people live longer, and live better, appropriate housing will have to be found. Projects all across the state, like the one on the take in Ishpeming, will be expected to handle those needs.

Of course, the Ishpeming project has a long way to go before applications from potential residents are accepted. Financing must be secured, site issues ranging from soil quality to parking to tax-related matters must still be worked out.

That said, as a concept, the pressing need for this kind of housing project is just around the corner. We hope it comes to fruition.