The owner of Stafford Village, a senior apartment complex in Worthington, is planning to demolish a section of the complex this summer, much to the dismay of some residents who live there.

Stafford Village, 814 Hartford St., is owned by National Church Residences.

The apartments were constructed in the 1970s in conjunction with Worthington Presbyterian Church, said George Tabit, vice president of senior housing development for National Church Residences.

In 2016, the company acquired the portion that the church owned, he said.

Tabit said National Church Residences knew at the time a renovation plan was needed so the community wouldn't be at risk.

The development offers senior citizens studio and one-bedroom apartments that are intended to be affordable. Calls to the complex about pricing were not immediately returned.

He said after the renovations are complete, National Church Residences would work with returning residents to make sure their rent doesn't go up. He said he could not cite exact figures for the new apartments but a number of options for lower income residents would be available. Tabit said apartments along the northeast corner of Hartford and Stafford Avenue would be demolished, and the project would affect 57 units. He said that 85 new units are going to replace the affected area. Stafford Village currently has 88 units.

He said plans are to start replacing the units this summer and match the historic New England style that is common in Worthington. They are expected to be finished in 18 months.

"(The new units were) designed to look like it was historic," he said.

City communications director Anne Brown said that no plans have been submitted formally but city leaders have been in touch with the company about the development.

Brown said the next step in the process would be for National Church Residences to submit plans to the city's architectural-review board and the municipal-planning commission for review. She said many opportunities for public input would be included.

Tabit said the company had held meetings within the Worthington community to gather feedback last spring and presented plans to community members in the fall. Tabit said National Church Residences met with with Stafford Village residents Nov. 16.

He said National Church Residences plans to help residents relocation while the construction is taking place. He said National Church Residences is having counselors meet with residents to determine their needs and would pay to help residents move and assist in having utilities transferred.

"I can assure you we have every intention to take care of our residents there," Tabit said.

Tabit said company leaders are used to the construction process with various communities.

"It's part of the life cycle of an apartment community," he said.

Resident Nancy Mason, 72, said she and many others do not see it that way.

She said she has lived at Stafford Village for eight years and has no idea where she is going to live while the renovations take place.

Mason said many of residents knew that renovations would be coming, but the timing seemed unexpected. She said she understands the need for updates, but she doesn't think the units need demolished.

"Just because they're old doesn't mean they are no good," she said.

She confirmed National Church Residences is assisting residents with the move, but she said it is stressful, especially because of the age of the residents.

"We're all older, most of us, and we just thought we're going to live here until we die," she said.

Mason said even if she finds another place to live that is similar, she would miss the sense of community she has at Stafford.

National Church Residences, headquartered in Upper Arlington, is a "not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing" options, with 340 communities around the country and Puerto Rico, according to its website.

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