|Home | En Español | Contact Us | A to Z|
The Dust Settles In Lebanon
As is true for any grand opening, when 100-year old resident Maggie Detweiler cut the ribbon this summer to celebrate the end of the renovation of Stevens Towers at the corner of Willow and 10th in Lebanon, Pennsylvania there were lots of distinguished guests to acknowledge and to thank.
Congressman Tim Holden was there. So was HUD Regional Director John Bravacos along with Lebanon Mayor Robert Anspach and members of the Lebanon County Commission and the Board of the Lebanon Housing Authority.
But the guests most distinguished and, all agreed, most deserving of thanks were the residents of Stevens Towers who, explained, "lived through two years of noise, dust and general inconvenience" as $5.3 million, HUD renovation of the 37-year old, 11-story structure moved to completion.
And when they say "dust" or "noise", they do mean "dust" and "noise." Lots and lots and lots of it. Which is no surprise; of course, given how extensive the renovations were to a building that, effectively, hadn't been substantially rehabilitated since opening brand-new 37 years earlier.
A new community center. New kitchens. New bathrooms. Installation of a new fire alarm, sprinkler and emergency communication systems. A top-to-bottom replacement of the building's electrical and heating and air conditioning systems. And, maybe the dustiest and noisiest of all, the conversion of 40 efficiency apartments into twenty, spacious one-bedroom apartments.
All the "dust" and the fuss, it appears, were worth it. "I love it here, Arlean Watson, who moved to Stevens Tower in the middle of the three-year renovation project, told The Lebanon Daily News. "I call it my little piece of heaven."
"The workmen were all very nice," added resident Neva Luttman who remembers walking her daughter to the school which once occupied the site. "It was inconvenient at times, but for better living conditions you put up with that." By project's end, in fact, she viewed all the construction workers, contractors and architects "just like neighbors."
"There's an old, three-story bell tower that's been preserved at Stevens Towers from the days when it served as an elementary school," commented HUD Regional Director John Bravacos. "It's too bad that the bell has been removed. Because it there ever was a day to ring it, ever a project to celebrate, this is it."
Renovation of Stevens Tower by the Lebanon Housing Authority was made possible through bonds issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Housing Finance Authority and repaid by proceeds to the Authority from HUD's Capital Funds Program. HUD also subsidizes the rents of the elderly tenants who call Stevens Towers home.
Content Archived: February 28, 2011