Salem Firm moving on co-housing plan


The possibility of a co-housing senior living development in the Salem area is moving ahead again with the choice of a local contractor and builder, Henmark, Inc. Russell Barksdale and his partner builder Mark Henrickson currently are querying about a dozen households where interest have been expressed in becoming part of a novel community where residents pool their financial resources and help each other.

They live close together in space-efficient homes and share some meals and activities in a “common house.” Before the complex can be built, land must be bought and building expenses budgeted by the prospective residents of the community to be known as SpiritServe.

Such communities are becoming familiar in several other parts of the nation; one has done well in Abingdon for nearly 20 years. Blacksburg also has a successful complex.

The group, whose major supporter is Paul Wyar, a retired engineer active in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church of Salem, has been trying to bring about the economical housing complex for four years. There is no requirement for religious affiliation. However, in most such groups those who choose the communal connection are of early retirement age and expect to give at least some of their time to helping others in or outside the complex.

With the choice of the contracting firm, planning has accelerated with a goal of land purchase by the end of December. Wyar may be reached at 540-520-4937 for more details.

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