ANDERSON — With the sounds of construction in the background, polished chrome shovels turned ceremonial scoops of dirt at the former athletic field west of the Wigwam where a new affordable assisted-living development is under construction.

Called Sweet Galilee, the building is the second to be constructed on the site after the completion of the three-story, 44-unit Fieldhouse Apartments last year.

“What is happening right now is a dream come true,” said BWI Chief Executive Officer Gary Hobbs during the groundbreaking on Wednesday.

“This area within Anderson has not seen a lot of investment in years, maybe decades, and to have a $30 million facility investment into this area with 50-plus new construction jobs and over 60 permanent jobs being created for this wonderful community is really, really awesome.”

Hobbs explained that the vision for the project from the beginning was to take a holistic approach. The assisted-living facility could provide jobs for people living in the apartments. And the Wigwam Complex, when completed, could provide an entertainment venue for residents of both facilities along with medical and behavioral health care at the Jane Pauley Community Health Center located at the Wigwam.

Stacks of prebuilt wall panels lay next to the tent erected for the ceremony and crews were using a crane to place them inside the exterior walls of the first floor.

That panelized construction speeds up the process, explained Steve Shehorn, executive vice president of T&W Corp.

“It allows us to go pretty quickly on the structure. Lord willing and shines favor on us here, in maybe about eight weeks or so, we’ll have a main structure up,” Shehorn said.

The facility is expected to open in the fall of 2021.

It will have 130 units – 85 one-bedroom and 45 studio apartments – along with a dining room serving three meals a day.

Amenities will include a fitness center, theater and physical therapy room.

Certified nursing assistants supervised by a licensed nurse will be on-duty around the clock.

The building will be owned by BWI and operated by Gardant Management Solutions.

“It’s a moral obligation for us, as a community to take care of our seniors, the folks that raised us and brought us up,” said Clayton Whitson, president and CEO of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce.

“To be able to fill that void right here, in the West Central District, is huge in terms of investment for our community,” Whitson said.

The construction is located in one of Anderson’s four opportunity zones. Created by the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, the zones provide federal capital gains tax incentives to attract private sector investment to low-income communities.

“We were able to put together these opportunity zones that we hope will continue to have some success as investors in our own community look at places where they can do work and invest and also realize gains but at the same time help our community,” Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said.

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