Thursday November 09, 2017
Doris Allard has called Cathedral Square Senior Living in Burlington home for nearly 39 years. At 93, she is the longest tenured resident of the Cathedral Square Corporation, a local nonprofit leader in the development of affordable senior housing. As a symbolic tribute to Allard, the South Burlington City Center property, which broke ground for construction on November 1, will be named Allard Square.
Allard attended the property ground breaking ceremony alongside government officials, community leaders, housing developers, and public and private citizens.
“It’s an honor for me,” she said, “especially because my father was in construction all his life.”
Born in Manchester, New Hampshire and raised in Montreal with her five siblings, Allard moved from house to house in her youth as fast as her father could build them and sell them. Her brother joined the family business and later took over the company.
In her early 20s, Allard relocated to Vermont for employment. She cooked meals, sometimes French gourmet recipes, for the priests at St. John Vianney Catholic Parish in South Burlington until her retirement at 72.
“They loved to eat and I love to cook,” said Allard, who learned culinary skills from her mother and grandmother.
Allard now cooks for one. Her day begins with a cup of coffee at 6 a.m. She stays busy taking care of her apartment home, doing laundry, reading and watching TV game shows. Brought up in the Catholic faith, Allard regularly attends Sunday Mass. It’s also a time for her to connect with friends.
“I’m happy with my life,” she said, “and God is the only one I thank for that.”
Cathedral Square Corporation, which owns and/or manages nearly 30 affordable senior housing communities in Vermont, has 800 people on its wait list. In fall 2018, Allard Square will open to help address the housing shortfall.
“We’re very excited to add this building to our portfolio,” said Cindy Reid, director of Development with Cathedral Square Corporation. “We desperately need housing, and affordability is critical for seniors on fixed incomes. To the extent that someone is paying for housing, the less they have to pay for food, medicine, dentures, doctor’s visits or gifts for the grandchildren.”
The 39-unit residence, which will offer support services to help seniors age in place, will be located in the City Center at 146 Market Street. The new downtown will provide Allard Square residents with sidewalk and public transit access to shopping, neighborhoods, medical facilities, commercial areas, and a nearby city park.
“It’s an ideal location,” Reid said. “The goal is people staying connected to our community. It really helps keep us vibrant and engaged and thriving.”
Allard will remain in her Cathedral Square home in Burlington. She’s thankful for her sharp mind, her independence, and a beautiful place to live. She says she has nothing to worry about but herself.
“For me, I live today,” said Allard, who will celebrate a birthday on December 2. “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow’s not here; why not enjoy the time you’re alive.”
SOURCE: Lisa Osbahr, Contributor