ONEONTA _ Gordon and Alyce Roberts still have some boxes to unpack since they moved into their new house last week.
But warmth from the fireplace, lights in the kitchen and the Roberts themselves give the sense that 7 Roberts Way already is home.
``We love it here,'' said Roberts, 84, a retired insurance businessman, in their residence in The Plains at Parish Homestead development on Monday.
The Roberts are the first official residents at the development for adults 55 and older, said Barbara Ann Heegan, marketing director for the community near the intersection of state routes 7 and 205 in the town of Oneonta.
Fifteen patio homes are being built in the first phase of the development, Heegan said, and six are completed. Seven people, including the Roberts, have moved into their residences, with more expected to take occupancy this month, she said.
To have people in the homes is putting a face onto the project, which is extending the wonderful history of the property, Heegan said.
Milly Parish is the sixth generation of the Parish family to live on the property in a house that dates to 1830. She said previously that after she realized she couldn't manage it alone, she discussed a development project with ``Gordie'' Roberts. He later introduced her to developer Patrick Tobin. The project took many years, she said, and was like a roller-coaster ride.
"I have learned so much from Gordie during this time,'' Parish said in a prepared statement. ``His persistence and encouragement have urged me to continue to expand my patience far beyond my expectations that this dream would finally become real. I am grateful to Gordie and will now enjoy having him and his wife Alyce as my new neighbors."
Heegan said Roberts was a driving force in networking with friends and the community to turn the housing development into a reality. To recognize his efforts, a roadway was named in his honor by Patrick Tobin, president of Living Communities LLC and project developer, she said.
Eventually, the development will have about 200 residents, Heegan said. The complex will include 39 patio homes, plus a main building with apartments and assisted living and memory-care services, Heegan said. The main building, tentatively to be complete by the end of next summer or early autumn, also will have amenities including a small store, cafe, beauty salon and fitness center.
The 2008 pricing for a patio home was $174,900 or $189,900, depending on location in the three-unit structure, Heegan said, and six homes remain available. Of the 64 apartments available for lease, all but four are reserved.
Before moving-in day Friday, the Roberts lived on Glen Drive in Oneonta.
Roberts said he began looking into attracting an adult-living community developer to the area in 1972, and during the past 20 years, he and Alyce, 89, visited 17 adult-living communities in New York state, North Carolina, Florida and Maine.
``Each time that we asked the community members how they enjoyed living in an active adult community, their response was `You can't believe what it is like. We are surrounded by people our age. We help each other and enjoy spending time together,'' Roberts said in a prepared statement. ``We would like to thank Living Communities LLC and Christa Construction for making this all come to life."
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