When Dixie Means moved to Morrisville’s Grant Manor senior citizens housing complex two years ago, she said her small apartment was cozy.
“It was comfortable, but it was outdated,” Means said.
The unit’s older heating and cooling systems were inefficient, she said, and clouded windows meant she couldn’t look outside at the small garden she worked hard to curate.
But, site manager Kathy Painter said at the time, work was already in progress to make things better for Means and the residents of the complex’s 15 other units.
“We knew this place needed help,” she said.
Five years ago, Painter started working on a grant application through the Federal Home Loan Bank in Des Moines, Iowa.
In December 2017, the bank awarded the complex, which is also open to individuals with disabilities, $241,740.
Farmers State Bank in Bolivar acted as the complex’s sponsor bank, she said. The bank’s Matt Henenberg was responsible for inspecting and approving payment for every update.
“Grant Manor was built in 1978, and this is the first rehabilitation that has ever been done here,” Painter said.
With the funding, Painter said the complex was able to install new kitchen cabinets and countertops, new appliances, new heat and air units and new windows. It also completely remodeled the bathrooms with walk-in showers. Outside, it layed new sidewalks and completed an asphalt overlay on the parking lot.
“The improvements they've made have really spruced it up,” Means said.
The work has also helped make the place safer, Painter’s husband, Tony, said. Tony Painter is also a member of the Grant Manor board of directors.
“Our sidewalks were all over the place,” he said. “In some places, they were way too steep, so if you’ve got a walker or a wheelchair, they’re not safe for you.”
Kathy Painter agreed.
“The sidewalks, with age, had deteriorated,” she said.
Tony Painter said the funding also helped the complex remove several sweet gum trees that produced gumballs, which were a trip hazard.
“You couldn’t keep them raked up,” he said.
Reflecting on the changes, Tony Painter said he’s proud of the place the board has been trusted to maintain.
Some of the complex’s tenants have relocated there from other apartments and rental properties that were either unsafe or more expensive, he said.
“We have one who will now be able to afford to buy a car,” he said. “With his other expenses, he wasn’t able to do that before.”