WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - High quality independent senior housing is a serious need in many communities across Maine.
Brown House Properties saw that need in Waterville and set out to address it.
"After looking at the property, we saw the opportunity that, as a family, we had been looking for for a long time," said Sherwood Booker, founder and co-owner of Brown House Properties. "And that is to create an independent senior living facility."
What was once The Roosevelt Motel and then a nursing home is now Brown House Commons, a 27-unit independent senior living facility.
"It is so needed here in Waterville to keep our elderly residents here in the community rather than have them move somewhere else," said Booker.
"The property itself is very unique in the sense that you're in the heart of the city right on College Ave., close to shops, doctor's offices, everything you need," said Lindsey Burrill, part-owner of Brown House Properties and the Booker's daughter. "However, we own the six wooded acres out back which is so rare in town in the city of Waterville, so it provides a tranquil serene element that makes you feel like you're out in the country."
The Bookers said they wanted the property to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so they installed 180 solar panels on the roof that they say reduce 80,000 pounds of carbon pollution annually.
It's also handicap accessible with wider doors and specialized bathrooms -- something residents that have lived in the facility for the last few months really appreciate, along with the sense of community.
"This place here made it possible for me to live on my own again," said resident Jean Sidmore. "The size of it, the fact that I can go from one room to the other with my walker or my wheelchair."
And for Sherwood Booker and his wife Laurie, who have been staples in the Central Maine community for over four decades, they say their enjoyment for what they do has allowed them to thrive for so many years.
"My wife and I started out with nothing, and we've grown to the size that we are today," said Booker. "It's been an exceptional ride. We've had a great time doing it. We enjoy the process from start to finish, and it's just been a lot of fun."