National Church Residences leaders said they still are receiving feedback on plans for Stafford Village, and they anticipate presenting a new proposal before the end of the year.

When ThisWeek first wrote about the project in December, construction had been expected to start at the end of this summer.

But the timeline changed after Worthington's architectural-review board tabled it Feb. 14 at the request of the developer.

The Stafford Village apartments, 814 Hartford St., were constructed in the 1970s in conjunction with Worthington Presbyterian Church, according to George Tabit, vice president of senior housing development for National Church Residences.

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

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.

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

But after the plan was tabled Feb. 14, the company last presented to the ARB on Feb. 28.

Todd Hutchins, communications director for National Church Residences, said the organization still is "gathering information" and does not have any new plans or designs for the property at this time.

Hutchins said the organization planned to return to the ARB and municipal-planning commission before the end of the year.

"At this time, we continue gathering information and considering our options," George Tabit, vice president of senior housing development for NCR, said. "We're committed to finding a solution that thoughtfully balances the need for affordable senior housing with a design that fits this historic community. Additionally, we're willing to extend the process to be as responsive as possible for residents, neighbors and the community."

Assistant City Manager Robyn Stewart said Worthington officials have not had any updates from National Church Residences since the last presentation in February.

"From last I heard, the ball is in their court at this point," she said.

She said the city had no date for a future meeting about the project.

The project has elicited both positive and negative reactions.

Mikel Coulter, chairman of Worthington's ARB and MPC, said in February the city had received many letters that voiced both positive and negative feedback on the project.

During a community presentation Feb. 13 at the Griswold Center, National Church Residences CEO Mark Ricketts said the renovation plan was intended to maintain walkability, affordability and availability for seniors.

The idea was to redevelop the ranch-style apartment buildings on the property into 85 larger units, according to plans previously submitted to the MPC and ARB.

Ricketts also said Feb. 13 that every resident would receive $10,000 to assist with the transition, moving expenses, deposit for a new apartment and gaps in utility costs.

"Our goal here is to maintain affordability for all seniors," he said.

Nancy Mason, 72, who has lived at Stafford Village for eight years, first spoke to ThisWeek in December about the plan.

She said Aug. 26 she still isn't happy about the situation regarding the renovations.

Mason said National Church Residences told her residents would have until next spring to find other accommodations. She said the company did not provide details or an exact month.

However, Tabit told ThisWeek on Aug. 27 that no residents have been given an official timeline for construction because the company still is working on a plan for the complex.

Mason said many residents have moved out and have gone to other housing complexes since the renovations were announced.

"It's really sad," she said. "It was a nice community, and it has gotten torn apart."

Sandy Evans, 86, a former resident of Stafford Village, said she decided to move due to the impending construction and settled on the Avondale Senior Village Apartments, 5215 Avery Road in Dublin. Avondale also is owned by National Church Residences.

She said the company helped with the transition and hired movers for her.

"They were incredibly helpful," she said.

Evans said she misses her friends at Stafford Village but has settled into her new home.

"I've been able to make a lot of friends here," she said.

Tabit said 23 residents have decided to leave Stafford Village for various reasons, including declining health.

Tabit said Stafford Village has 88 units, with 57 that would affected by the renovation plans. Hutchins said three units were empty when the process began.

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