Nov. 1, 2007
For immediate release
LEASBURG SENIOR APARTMENTS AWARDED
LEASBURG— The Leasburg Senior Citizens Homes Inc., the local noproft that owns the 32 senior citizens apartments, has been awarded a $374,247 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines to renovate the apartments. The apartments were built in two phases in 1978 and 1982, using loans from USDA Rural Development, who also provides rental assistance to very low income families in the apartments.
Because the units are designed to be affordable, rents are below market rates, making it difficult for the board to accumulate funds to undertake major renovation of the now 30-year old units.
The grant funds will be used to replace roofs, windows, doors, sidewalks and outside lighting, replace cabinetry, add insulation, install ground fault outlets and smoke detectors, install soffit and fascia and some vinyl siding and remodel one unit to be handicapped accessible.
“I am so thankful for the grant and the work of our past directors,” said Shirley Williams, manager of the 32 apartment units. Board President Doug Windle echoed her sentiments.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is a wholesale cooperative bank that provides low-cost short and long-term funding and community lending to more than 1,200 members. It is one of twelve regional banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The FHLB System is the largest supplier of home mortgage credit in the United States. Congress created the national network of privately owned wholesale banks in 1932 to ensure available funding for mortgages, however, it receives no taxpayer funding. The bank devotes 10 percent of its net income each year to affordable housing programs. The Des Moines bank serves commercial banks, savings institutions, credit unions and insurance companies in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Town and Country Bank, with facilities in St. James, Cuba and Bourbon, is a member of the FHLB-DM and sponsored the Leasburg application, which was prepared by Meramec Regional Planning Commission.
“We’re thrilled to be involved in the project,” said Diane Charlson, a Town and Country Bank senior vice president. “It’s worthwhile, and we’re excited about it.”
Added John Kolbe, Town and Country Bank’s chief executive officer: “We’re always looking for ways to help communities out. We are excited to help with the senior housing program. We think it’s a great program.”
Town and Country Bank will assist with reporting and requesting grant funds.
USDA assisted with the application and provided a letter of support for the project. “In 1978, a group of concerned citizens in Leasburg came together with a vision that became a reality through the assistance of USDA Rural Development’s Rural Rental Housing Program,” recalls Brenda Edgar, area specialist with USDA’s Farmington office. “Today, almost 30 years later, the board of directors of Leasburg Senior Citizens continues their efforts to help meet the critical housing needs in Missouri. We are proud of their past accomplishments and celebrate the achievements of successful partnerships with Meramec Regional Planning Commission, Town and Country Bank, Federal Home Loan Bank and USDA Rural Development.”
Williams also recognized the work of past board presidents, including the founding president Wilber King, Lester Wissman and Robert Lockhart, all of whom served on the board until their deaths.
Though Greg Branum, state director for USDA Rural Development, couldn’t join the group, his staff carried his message:
“This celebration is a great example of how partnerships can work together to accomplish great things,” Branum wrote. “We want to thank Meramec Regional Planning Commission with assisting Leasburg Senior Citizens in submitting a successful grant application to the Federal Home Loan Bank and of course, we want to thank Federal Home Loan Bank for providing the grant funds to make improvements to this much needed elderly housing. Through these partnerships, this owner will be able to continue to provide affordable housing for this community for many years to come,” Branum concluded. Branum died unexpectedly on Oct. 23.
MRPC will coordinate, oversee and inspect renovation work and will assist the board and bank with payments to contractors. Work specifications have been prepared, and a walk-through with more than 20 contractors was held Oct. 25.
“The Leasburg board has done a great job of maintaining the units with the funds they have, however, some items just wear out or become obsolete because of age,” explained Bonnie Prigge, MRPC’s assistant director who wrote the application. “These improvements will improve energy efficiency and ensure that Leasburg senior citizens have quality housing well into the future, and we are pleased to help the Leasburg board move this project forward.
Work will begin as soon as bids are received and acted upon by the board. Renovation work is expected to start in November.