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Work on Buckeye Fields site begins

Photo by Michele Newbanks Clifford Harris drills down to get a core sample of soil from the site of the upcoming Buckeye Fields senior housing on Tuesday.

Exploratory drilling was done this week in the next step of the Buckeye Fields senior housing project.

Ray Clough, owner of Double J Drilling of Williamstown, said they were checking the soil to see where the bedrock is and whether the soil was suitable for construction.

“Most all architecture firms have this done,” he explained.

Two of his employees, Clifford Harris and Elbert Ferguson, had a drilling rig on the site of the housing project this week. They took core samples of soil to see the strength of the soil and whether it could hold up to the construction of the homes.

The $9.1 million senior housing project called Buckeye Fields will include 64 homes on 65 acres near the Washington County Home. The one-story modular homes will be built to house low-income Washington County senior citizens.

Photo by Michele Newbanks Clifford Harris and Elbert Ferguson replace a piece of the drill so they can get core samples of the soil at the site of the upcoming Buckeye Fields senior housing on Tuesday.

The goal is in spring to summer 2021 to have units being built and occupied. The homes will be trucked in and placed on a foundation.

Rick Hindman, executive director of Buckeye Hills Support Services, said the design firm Pickering Associates was working on the site design, while Unibilt was working on the modular home design.

BHSS is a collaboration project between Buckeye Hills Regional Council and Washington County Job and Family Services. The organization will do all the contracting work with area agencies, as well as lease the site from the Washington County Commission.

“We’re actually working right now with LeadingAge to work on the telehealth aspect of the project,” Hindman said.

LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit which helps provide health care and housing services throughout Ohio.

An application is due to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency on Sept. 25 and BHSS is working to get equity for the project finalized.

“We’re nailing that down. We still have things to get squared away with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati,” he explained. “We’re applying for an $880,000 grant to help with the affordability of the project.”

He said they are still looking at April or earlier for the start of construction. Mark Welch, engineer with Pickering Associates, said final site drawings are due at “the end of September of early October.”

The housing project is unique in that it will have wraparound services that other senior living centers don’t have. For instance, the Area Agency on Aging can give seniors access to health care, while the OSU Extension can give them access to nutrition. A communal area in the housing development would give them access to social networking.

Area agencies who have already signed on to participate are Washington County Job and Family Services, Washington-Morgan Community Action, the O’Neill Center, Area Agency on Aging, Ohio Means Jobs and Adult Protective Services.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

What’s next:

•Soil samples will be sent to the engineer.

•Final design drawings are due the end of September.

•Application is due to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency on Sept. 25.

•Goal is to start construction by April 2021.

Source: Times research.

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