Determination.

Dedication.

Persistence.

Perseverance.

Any of these words and others like them can be used to describe the efforts of a group of Redwood Falls individuals who were tasked with ensuring a local housing project damaged by a fire in 2013 would open again.

That group, known as the Redwood Falls Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA), celebrated the fruits of its efforts this past fall when the ribbon was cut officially opening the Lakeside Manor housing facility once again. 

The process toward that end was not an easy one, as it took more than four years to move through the red tape from the time of the fire in January of 2013 until the day the first person moved into the newly remodeled housing facility in August of this year.

Phil Johanneck, one of the members of the HRA who has been involved in the remodeling process throughout the past four years, recently talked about the project from the time of the fire until the reopening.

Johanneck recalled getting the call from the staff of Lakeside about the fire, adding the HRA was determined from the very beginning to open the facility once again.

Johanneck recognized the efforts of the community that first night in January 2013 when law enforcement, emergency personnel and the community as a whole responded to help in a quick fashion. Most of the structure itself was unharmed in the fire, although smoke damage was prevalent throughout all of the floors.

The building had to be completely gutted down to the concrete walls, and during the $5 million renovation, everything from new electrical to the installation of a sprinkler system was included. That funding came from various sources, including insurance, U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, as well as a small cities allocation from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

No one would have ever imagined the process would take as long as it did, agreed Johanneck, who said it was a great relief to be at the point where people were able to call Lakeside Manor home once again.

“We’re still not 100 percent (completed with the project),” said Johanneck, adding there are a few small details being worked on.

However, getting the green light for occupancy was a huge burden lifted off of those who spent countless hours calling, e-mailing and communicating in other ways to get the project completed. At the official opening earlier this fall and again during a recent conversation about the process, Johanneck commented about the long list of e-mails that continued to come in regularly as the project unfolded.

Initially established in the 1960s, Lakeside Manor has changed a bit with the remodeling project, and today there are 51 one-bedroom units available.

According to Pat Dingels of the Redwood Area Development Corporation (RADC), which is serving as the interim manager of Lakeside services, there were, as of Dec. 21, six units left to be filled at Lakeside Manor.

“The HRA committee, city staff, and the city council were determined to get Lakeside Manor up and running again,” said Corey Theis, Redwood Falls mayor. “With all the events that took place from the first to working with HUD and insurance, it was a slower process than expected, but we never gave up and kept finding solutions to a difficult situation.”

After long meetings and hard work by all involved Lakeside Manor is a great place for anyone to call home, added Theis.

“This type of housing is a great asset for our community and will benefit the citizens of Redwood Falls for many years to come,” said Theis.

The units available for rent at Lakeside Manor are based on income, said Dingels, and those who may be interested in finding out more about what is offered through the housing facility are encouraged to contact Dingels.

For more information, call (507) 637-2221, or visit the RADC Web site at www.radc.org and look for the HRA link.

“Living at Lakeside Manor is not based on age,” said Dingels, adding many still believe it is a facility built for senior living. “Any adult who meets income guidelines may live at Lakeside Manor.”

Of the initial group that was displaced when the Lakeside Manor fire required it to be closed, one resident has moved back in and is again calling it home. The first tenant officially moved in Sept. 12, 2017, and since then the Lakeside facility has been a busy place.

In addition to the five-member HRA, there are countless people who worked to accomplish opening Lakeside Manor once again, and it is those people who have been selected at the 2017 Redwood Gazette People of the Year.