When her husband died several years ago, township resident Cynthia Simmons moved around to a few different places, staying with her sister in Florida and her daughter in Fords.
About five years ago, Simmons moved to Cooper Towers Senior Apartments Center in Iselin, and recently saw a welcome change in her home again, with the completion of renovations at the senior housing complex.
Cooper Towers was part of a $3 million project run by the township to renovate senior housing units maintained by the Woodbridge Housing Authority, according to Mayor John McCormac.
The project was funded by money from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Community Development Block Grant Program, not tax dollars, McCormac said.
Cooper Towers was the first building to undergo the renovations, and is completely finished, with 75 made-over apartments.
Renovations are still underway at Olsen Towers, where 75 apartments will also be made over with similar amenities.
Ultimately, the township wants to renovate a total of 415 apartments at the Stern, Finn, Adams, and Greiner Senior resident centers.
Simmons praised the new flooring in her apartment, the made-over kitchen and renovated bathroom, which is handicap accessible.
After moving around, Simmons said she cherishes her apartment, located near her daughter and grandchildren, who she is able to visit daily.
"Every time I open my door, I (think) "This is mine," she said.
Cooper Towers former resident Jean Asouline said the workers on the project became part of the senior center family.
To complete the project, the township brought in trade and union laborers, an arrangement that worked out well and created jobs, McCormac said.
"We had a lot of apprehension when we went into this project," Asouline said. "A lot of meetings...but we worked through it."
Asouline said despite that initial apprehension, the project ran smoothly and the end product was worth it.
"The apartments are beautiful," she said.
Resident Ramesh Shah had similar praise.
"(I want to) thank the township for giving us a better life," he said.