The Niles Times
The Central Park Apartments is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year with an open house and rededication planned for 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The event will include photo displays, tours, performances by the Cortland Community Band, refreshments and visits by local and state dignitaries. The public is invited.
The apartment complex is a well-known downtown structure that has become the home for many local senior citizens.
In 1970, clergy and laymen from nine local churches formed the Niles Churches for Housing, a non-profit group whose endeavor is to provide affordable "unassisted living" housing for senior citizens.
The three-story Central Park Apartment complex was started in 1974 with official dedication held in April 1975.
Bill Wiencek, president of the NCH board, said the clergy of each church, First United Methodist, First Christian, Fairview United Methodist, First United Presbyterian, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Lukes Episcopal, St. Stephen, Southside Presbyterian, and Trinity Lutheran appoints two volunteer members to serve on the board of trustees.
He said as a result of the forums by the Niles Clergy Association, Niles Churches for Housing developed the senior housing project which became known as Central Park Apartments under the National Housing Act, Federal HUD program #236.
In 1974, construction was completed on the six two-bedroom and 44 one-bedroom senior only apartments. The project is regulated by HUD as to rents and operating methods.
Wiencek said the association's term with HUD and the mortgage will be completed in August 2016.
Throughout recent years, ongoing maintenance occurred on the two to three million dollar apartment building with a new roof, windows, bathrooms, kitchens, common interior areas added. The grounds were also improved with additional parking and a screened gazebo. Wiencek said funds for the improvements comes from a reserve fund associated with HUD.
The apartments are managed by ABC Inc. of Beachwood and has a tenants committee. Shelby Conn is the current manager.
Martha Fidram, a 12-year resident, said the atmosphere is like a 'family' with many activities taking place for residents to participate in. "The 12 years I have lived there have been among the happiest years of my life," Fidram said.
Doris Bollinger, a 10-year resident, said she feels like she has always been at home. "Everyone has been very nice and friendly since I have been here," she said.
There are 52 residents living in the apartments with the oldest resident in her late 90s.
The building has been known for their Christmas display with a large family tree and other parties and events held at the holidays. Residents also help with a garden on the property.
Judy George, a board member, said her parents and grandmother have all been residents at the apartments, so she has been a regular visitor.
Beatrice Baer, a board member, said her mother was one of the original residents who lived in the apartments when they opened in 1975. In addition to her mother, her cousin also lived there.
Baer is also a charter board member serving as secretary. Other charter members are the Rev. Bernard Oakes, Joseph Parise and Bill Stevens. Plans are to recognize the charter members at the open house,
Wiencek said a four-member residents committee was formed along with floor captains to address residents concerns and issues.