Home News and Features ‘Clara’s Garden:’ New Memory Care Wing Under Construction

‘Clara’s Garden:’ New Memory Care Wing Under Construction

Construction is underway for “Clara’s Garden” — a new memory care wing at the Gary Residence, 149 Main Street, Montpelier. Photo by Carla Occaso.
You might have noticed a chain link fence around a construction site at 149 Main Street in Montpelier. The Gary Residence, a fixture in Montpelier for the aging community, has kicked off construction for a new memory wing. The new wing will offer 15-units with 18 bedrooms in all, per the zoning application filed in March. The addition is planned to be 11,300-square-feet, and will include an improved parking area, a new patio/sitting area, and new water/sewer connections. 

“Our project is going well and is on schedule right now. We are looking at walls to be up by the first of December,” according to Dawn Palowski, executive director of O.M. Fisher Home (the nonprofit sponsor of Westview Meadows and The Gary Residence). Palowski announced the new memory care program will be called “Clara’s Garden,” which is slated to open in Fall 2023. The wing is named after Gary Residence founder, Dr. Clara Gary.

Palowski told The Bridge by email she is excited the new program will allow “the residents to stay in their local community and close to where their families live. Families can stop in on a daily basis to see their loved one. When they are forced to move their loved one out of the local community, visit can only occur on a day off or the weekend.” Additionally, current residents have a place to go should they need memory care and won’t have to leave the Gary Residence.

Palowski said construction has not interrupted daily operations, and in fact, she said, residents enjoy watching the construction work. In addition to the living space, two accessory buildings will be erected, per a description by DeWolfe Engineering Associates dated March 11, 2022. One is a maintenance storage building and the other is a stone patio with an arbor and stone benches. The project also includes underground stormwater storage chambers. The two spots where stormwater discharges from the property are the western part of the site where water drains to a catch basin. The rest drains to a brick culvert through underground piping on the southern part of the property, per the application.

Nine light fixtures will be installed on the building to light entrances, walkways and parking areas. Additionally, eight ground-based lights will be put up along the sidewalks or patio areas. And six pendant lights are proposed for the arbor. Outdoor lighting will automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn.

The Gary Residence was founded in 1941 with funds from Dr. Clara Gary, a Vermont doctor, and one of the first female doctors in the state after Rebecca Peabody Davis. It was originally a home for women to age, but men were welcomed years later. When available, rooms are open to people ages 62 and up.