BUFFALO, N.Y. — The physical outline of Mt. Olive Senior Manor a new low-income $27 million senior apartment complex is taking shape along East Delavan Avenue in Buffalo.
"No longer are we just talking plans," said Pastor Dwayne Gillison.
The spiritual foundation of the project however started 28 years ago with the vision of late the Reverend Doctor William Gillison, Dwayne's father.
"Realizing it's his vision that was given to him and we're going to see it through," Pastor Gillison said,
Construction started in July and is expected to take 24 months. The project is a partnership between Mt. Olive Development Corporation and People Inc.
It's being built directly behind the church where the Reverend Doctor served for dozens of years and where the younger Gillison now leads. During a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, he and his mother, Antonia shared how despite several challenges and delays William never stopped working on the project.
"Even being in a wheelchair for nine and a half years did not stop him from proceeding with the plans. He was destined to complete this project with the help of god," said Anthonia Gillison.
The late pastor was called to god last July but according to Antonia found out just before his passing that funding for the senior manor had been secured.
So there was no doubt among those gathered Monday that the late beloved pastor was smiling down on the groundbreaking.
The project includes federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, New York State Homes and Community Renewal funds, dollars from the New York State Homeless Housing and Assistance Program, and money from the City of Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency.
"It's such an important location to Buffalo to Western New York to make sure we're putting in needed resources to support our community so we're thrilled to be part of this really unique development project with Mt. Olive Development Corp.," said Anne McCaffrey, CEO of People Inc.
When the complex is finished in the Summer of 2025 there will be 65 apartments, 20 will be set aside for frail and elderly senior tenants, 8 for people with mobility disabilities, and 4 for people who have vision or hearing impairments.
Antonia Gilison added that while her husband is gone, today was not bittersweet.
She said: "I just thank god that he gave him the opportunity to finish what god has given him."