Housing Commission maintains quality at Allen Terrace to enhance senior living
Posted on 02/15/2018
Keeping up a 40-year-old building that houses more than 100 senior residents and often sees an equal number of daily visitors is a tall order. It’s a job that rests squarely on the shoulders of the Housing director, balanced by the expertise and oversight of the Housing Commission.

With residents that range in age from 55 to 105, Allen Terrace, the City’s senior apartment building has to meet the needs of a diverse group of seniors. The common bond is that they can live independently in an apartment. While some prefer to stay in their apartments, others like to congregate and socialize in the building’s many gathering spaces. There’s the Sue Cooper Computer Room, library, dining room/atrium, and seating areas on every floor – many with flourishing plants and flowers. The interior is kept up well, but it takes planning and funding.

The commission meets monthly, September through June, at the stately building at 401 High Street, nestled in a beautiful wooded setting that backs to a hill. Members must be City residents and include Roger Schultz, president; Alan Deneau, vice president, who lives at Allen Terrace; Nancy Catallo; and new members Kirk Rentz and Janice Valade. Sam Ekong, City Council liaison, and Tracey Emmanuel, Housing director, also are active participants.

About 20 to 30 residents regularly attend and are given time to speak at the start of the meeting; otherwise, they listen. The commission typically discusses maintenance issues and other items, but these matters often impact quality of life.

The Residents Council, comprised of 10 residents, including President Dave Linden, meets monthly year-round and addresses issues concerning policies and conflicts among residents. Escalated issues are brought before the Housing Commission. The Residents Council also plans social events and activities such as bingo and Wii bowling. 

Last summer, the Residents Council asked the commission to purchase a large barbeque grill since individuals were bringing their own grills to cook group meals. The commission eagerly backed it. This spring, a concrete pad will be installed to keep the grill level. It’s a seemingly minor item, but it will make those warm-weather meals more enjoyable.

Maintenance issues to be addressed this year include replacing the aging roof and correcting insulation and venting issues. The commission will also look into replacing some of the original atrium windows, which fog up and leak during heavy rains.

Schultz, who had a career in the moving and storage industry, brings along skills of project management, handling logistics and reviewing contracts. He was recruited by past President Genie Nehs, who moved to the township with her husband Jerry.

“When Genie asked me if I would join, I knew that I had the time and wanted to give back to the community.” He, in turn, recruited Rentz and Valade to the commission.

“There’s a lot of nice people there,” Schultz said. “We (the commission) interact with residents regularly. Meetings are meetings, and are needed to accomplish things, but I really like to meet with the residents.”

He encourages those considering serving on a board to attend a meeting and get a feel for the issues and people involved.