Backers, Officials Join For Formal Opening Of Updated, Improved Housing Complex
Financial backers and state and local officials joined Park View Apartment staff and residents in a grand opening and dedication ceremony at the facility affectionately known as Antigo’s “high-rise” Thursday.
The ceremony, held in the four-story complex’s refurbished community room, marked the completion of a year-long, $3.4 million renovation project, completed over a grueling seven phases.
“I know what it is like to live and work in dust and confusion,” Ben Zelazoski, chairman of the Antigo Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, said. “I think you’ll all agree it was worth the effort.”
Zelazoski reflected on Park View’s original opening on April 20, 1974, a gala occasion when the complex, then known as Park View Manor, became the tallest apartment building in Antigo.
It remains the tallest, and continues its mission of serving the needs of the area’s over-50 population, along with those facing disabilities, Zelazoski said.
“It will continue to serve the community for many years to come,” Zelazoski said.
Mary Pavek, executive director of the Housing Authority, called the project a result of a shared vision and determination that “breathed new life into this facility.”
Pavek gave a shout-out to her staff and the local and state officials who offered endorsements for the project, which aided in its successful grant applications.
She also reflected on the financial partners so instrumental in the projects success, including Commonwealth Companies of Fond du Lac, represented by Louis Lange III.
“It’s been a long road and a lot of fun,” Lange, a frequent visitor and a favorite with residents, said. “I knew this project was going to be successful because you have wonderful people here.”
The project dates to 2011, when the Housing Authority partnered with Commonwealth Companies to pursue renovation dollars. The effort was successful and in April, 2013, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority awarded the Housing Authority $412,785 in annual tax credits for the work.
The construction budget was further supplemented by a $700,000 grant from the Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank and a $372,000 loan through the Wisconsin Department of Administration. The Housing Authority contributed an additional $189,000.
“It just turned out fantastic,” Lange said. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams. It’s an awesome transformation.”
Dave Ginger of the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority, noted that the completed financing package, which utilized something known as the Rural Assistance Demonstration Project, was the first of its kind in the state.
“Imagine that, in Antigo, not in Milwaukee or Madison,” he said.
“Congratulations to the residents,” Ginger said. “You’ve got a nice place to live, a nice place to call home.”
The official dedication was led by rev. Keith Wolf, a former member of the Housing Authority board and frequent visitor in his prior role with the Department of Social Services.
“God had a part in making this happen today,” Wolf said, asking in the prayer that He “bless each doorway and threshold.”
With the work now completed, Park View boasts an updated common spaces, including a conference room, spacious kitchen, a coffee bar known as the Sunrise Cafe, sitting area with fireplace and a patio with one of the best views in the community, overlooking Lake Park and Antigo Lake.
There is also an adjoining exercise room featuring the same type and models of equipment used at Langlade Hospital’s Center for Health and Performance.
An addition on the complex’s east side allowed for construction of five fully wheelchair-accessible units with an additional 12 units featuring modified accessibility for those with handicaps.
The vision that became Park View dates to April 12, 1967, when Mayor Reuben Krause and the Common Council passed a resolution declaring a need for a Housing Authority to function in the city. Membership included Mrs. Clarence McCandless, Carl Meinert, Myron Wandrey, Ronald Moss and Walter Utnehmer as chairman.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban development approved the Authority’s application for funding on Oct. 20, 1971. Shelter Development Corporation of Minneapolis served as the general contractor, with ground-breaking ceremonies held on Aug. 18, 1972.
The initial project, which also included 30 homes, was completed at a cost of $2.4 million.
Source: Antigo Daily Journal