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From Community Eyesore to Community Asset

Posted by James Turner, Michigan State Director, USDA Rural Development in Rural
Oct 14, 2014
Ribbon-cutting at Kalamink Creek Apartments.  From left:  Melissa Horste, staffer for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin; Senior Vice President of the Great Lakes Capital Fund Tom Edmiston, resident Ryan Kainath; USDA Rural Development Mason Area Office Director Kevin Smith; Owner/Contractor Jeff Gates; co-owner Tom Lapka (USDA Photo)
Ribbon-cutting at Kalamink Creek Apartments. From left: Melissa Horste, staffer for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin; Senior Vice President of the Great Lakes Capital Fund Tom Edmiston, resident Ryan Kainath; USDA Rural Development Mason Area Office Director Kevin Smith; Owner/Contractor Jeff Gates; co-owner Tom Lapka (USDA Photo)

Recently, the community of Webberville, Michigan celebrated the ribbon-cutting for what had once been an eyesore on the outskirts of town.

Kalamink Creek Apartments in Webberville was built in 1987 through the USDA Rural Development Section 515 Multi-Family Housing program to provide safe, affordable housing for low-income rural residents.  One of the first things visitors see as they drive in from Lansing is the aging 24-unit facility.

Resident Ryan Kainath noted that the stove in his apartment did not heat food properly and the water heater was erratic at best.  “It would change from cold, to hot, to cold, to hot, while you were trying to take a shower.”  When the owners removed his stove, it left a trail of rust on the floor behind it.

According to owner Jeff Gates, Kalamink Creek Apartments was on the road to foreclosure.  However, thanks to assistance from USDA Rural Development, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) and the Great Lakes Capital Fund, the facility has been given new life.

USDA Rural Development in Michigan provided a $125,000 loan which combined with tax credits administered by MSHDA and assistance from Great Lakes Capital Fund, enabled a complete renovation of the property. The total project cost was $2,344,785.

Virtually every aspect has been upgraded – the siding, windows, doors, floors, appliances, cabinets, countertops – even the parking lot.  None of the residents were required to relocate during the renovation – workers instead accommodated residents’ schedules as best they could while doing the work.

Gates, who also was the contractor for the renovation remarked that residents were “Happy to see us come, and happier to see us go.”

Other improvements include playground equipment and a mailbox facility.  Previously residents had to rent a box at the post office two blocks away.  Now they get it delivered a central location at the front of the apartments.  The owners also added an office and community room – which was put to good use offering snacks and drinks.

Kalamink Creek is now almost an entirely new facility and when visitors drive into Webberville they see a clean, updated facility instead of an eyesore.   The residents will tell you that it is just as nice on the inside.

Category/Topic: Rural

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