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Ground Breaking Ceremony for New Jersey’s First Affordable Supportive Rental Housing for People Living with Multiple Sclerosis

August 18th, 2010

The Groundbreaking Ceremony for Kershaw Commons—named after Raymond A. Kershaw, former Mayor of Freehold and MS advocate— took place yesterday, August 17. Not only is Kershaw Commons New Jersey’s first affordable supportive rental housing for people living with Multiple Sclerosis, but it is the first of its kind on the east coast.

Among the many supporters who came out to celebrate the momentous occasion, some notable speakers included Michael Elkow from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Commissioner Lori Grifa from the NJ Department of Community Affairs, John Gribbin, the  President and CEO of CentraState Healthcare System, Mayor Anthony Ammiano of the Township of Freehold, and Carol Kershaw.

Regan Development Corporation retained BartonPartners for the design of a prototypical facility expressly for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system leading to various levels and forms of disability. The site for the Kershaw Commons is Applewood Estates, a full-service senior living residential community owned and operated by the CentraState Healthcare System. The goal of this new facility is to provide housing specifically designed for a segment of the population currently under-served by existing housing models.

The design of Kershaw Commons puts the needs of those living with MS first. The facility will include 31 individual living units. Every apartment kitchen is designed for the specific needs of the residents with such accessible features as cabinets with roll under access and slide out shelving; front control range/ovens; and countertop microwaves. Other accessible features include: transfer and roll-in showers; accessible light and thermostat controls; automated door openers; roll-out linen shelves; and 42” wide doors throughout the entire facility.

Areas for administrative functions, as well as common areas for recreation and activities are included within Kershaw Commons. The building will be equipped with a Wellness Suite that includes exam rooms and a physical therapy area geared towards the specific needs of the residents.

The site will be developed with a landscaped main entryway, fully accessible walking trail, and accessible raised garden. Outdoor sitting areas will adorn the exterior. All of the exterior amenities will be located along an accessible route for the residents and visitors.