By Tom McDermott
Vienna Senior Living, Rye’s senior affordable housing complex of 41 one- and two-bedroom apartments on Theodore Fremd Avenue near North Street, officially opened March 29 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by a host of local, County, and State officials. While many of those had their say at the mic, new resident Vin Giammarinaro, who moved into his apartment in February by way of the Bronx and Yonkers, seemed to sum-up the moment best: “I don’t have to bounce from place to place anymore, I can just stay here.”
A beaming Lou Larizza, of Lazz Development, the project’s builder, told the audience that “Vienna is our proudest achievement yet.” He thanked City Planner Christian Miller for his invaluable assistance. The name, “Vienna” is a tribute to Larizza’s father, who operated a hair salon of the same name.
Vienna was a long time in coming as described by County Executive George Latimer who, along with other former City Council members, including Carolyn Cunningham, began the process a decade ago. New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) contributed $14.3 million, the County donated the land and an additional $2.2 million in order to complete the project. HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas told the audience that Vienna “created a more cohesive and diverse community in Rye. Latimer called it a little success story and said that the lesson of Vienna Senior Living was “perseverance”.
Vienna is partially a result of a settlement between HUD and the County, requiring additional affordable housing units in Rye and other affluent communities around the County. The complex is for seniors over 62. Most of the units were set aside for households making 60 percent of area median income.
Mayor Josh Cohn told the new residents, “I hope the pipes gurgle sweetly and the floors creak just right.”
Vienna residents Mary Lou Bisceglia and Mary Ellen Wagner were chosen to cut the ribbon. Wagner was a Rye resident who worked as a babysitter for local families.
“Success is being able to stay here,” said County Legislator Catherine Parker.
Lou Larizza with Norma Drummond, Westchester’s Acting Commissioner of Housing and Community Development