The residents of Central Park Apartments on East State Street in Niles are happy to have Joe Kellar as their maintenance technician.
They are so happy, in fact, that two years ago they declared July 9 as "Joe Kellar" Day and every year on July 9, Kellar is given the day off to do whatever he wants.
"I will never move away from here," said Doris Bolinger, an 11-year resident of the facility. "I love it here and its so close to everything," she said.
Joseph Kellar, maintenance technician, and Shelby Conn, property manager, were honored by the ABC Management Company of Beechwood for their work at Central Park Apartments in Niles. Kellar and Conn also were recognized at the annual dinner meeting of Niles Churches for Housing, owners of the apartment complex on E. State Street. Kellar was named Employee of the Year by ABC, while Conn was awarded the Silver Key Award for apartment management.
Other residents feel the same way, said property manager Shelby Conn.
"In a busy year, we might have four move out," Conn said, "and not because they want to."
The management company that supervises the running of the complex agrees with the residents' assessments. Last year, ABC Management Company, Inc., selected Kellar as its Employee of the Year over every other employee at every other apartment complex, mobile home park and other facilities the company oversees throughout Ohio. As property manager, Conn was awarded the Silver Key Award.
Conn and Kellar also were recognized at the annual dinner meeting of Niles Churches for Housing, Inc., the owners of the apartment complex, which caters to the needs of senior citizens.
The Board of Trustees meeting, led by President William Wiencek, recognized the commitment of both Kellar and Conn.
Conn has been with Central Park Apartments for more than 22 years. For 29 years, she also managed the Bellair Apartments, from which she retired five years ago. Now, choosing to work only part-time at the complex, she oversees the application process and waiting list for potential residents.
"Right now, we're only taking applications for those who need help," Conn said.
The complex has 36 apartments that can be rented with federal subsidized funding, Conn said, although many residents are not eligible for a low income apartment.
"As they become vacant, we try to put in someone who needs help," she said.
Kellar, who retired from Copperweld Steel after 37 years, came to Central Park five years ago.
"I don't want to leave," he said. "I like the people here and this is a nice building to work for."
Kellar and Conn were recognized at ABC's annual Christmas dinner in December. Kellar, who almost didn't attend the dinner, was surprised to find he had been chosen as Employee of the Year.
"I had to secretly call his wife and tell her they had to come to the dinner," Conn said.
Niles Churches for Housing Board of Trustees held the annual dinner meeting March 22 at Vernon's Cafe. Attending the dinner were members of the clergy, board members, spouses and the staff of Central Park.
The nominating committee, headed by Richard Tock, chose to retain the current slate of officers for the upcoming year. Those officers are William Wiencek, president; Joseph Parise, vice-president; William Stephens, treasurer; and Beatrice Baer, secretary.
Niles Churches for Housing, Inc. are currently constructing another senior citizen apartment complex on the site of the former Edison Jr. High School on Chestnut Street they have named, Edison Place.