Recently, community leaders and residents of Huntingburg, IN, gathered to celebrate the rebirth of an abandoned community icon into much-needed senior housing with the grand opening of The Lofts at St. Joseph’s
Pete Schwiegeraht, Senior Developer at Miller-Valentine Residential Development, said the redevelopment of the city’s former St. Joseph’s Hospital, which has been empty since 2007, has changed the hospital from an economic challenge to a potential boon.
“We now have 45 homes available to make sure area residents are affordably housed and able to retain their independence as long as they can,” Schwiegeraht said. “There is tremendous pent-up demand for housing in this area.”
Earlier in a phone interview, Schwiegeraht said Miller-Valentine is interested in participating in projects that do revitalization, blight elimination, and reuse and revitalize existing buildings. “But we’re not just looking for buildings that are no longer useful,” he said. “We also look for communities that are not only in need, but are economically strong and have a lack of affordable housing. When you look at Indiana, you’re essentially looking at either Marion County or here, Dubois County.”
In this project, Miller-Valentine partnered with Tri-Cap
, a private, not-for-profit, Community Action Agency serving residents of Dubois, Pike, and Warrick counties. Neil Elkins, Housing Services Director for the agency, said they were as interested as anyone in seeing the hospital come back to life. “The need for housing in this area is well-documented,” Elkins said. “It was such a joy to work on this with Pete and his staff.”
At the grand opening, Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner cheered the building’s “new life.”
“Since St. Joseph’s closed, we’ve been waiting for this day,” Spinner said. “We now have new life in one of our city landmarks. Sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time with the right answer.”
A coalition of partners, including FHLBI member Old National Bank
, which helped secure a $500,000 Affordable Housing Program
grant for The Lofts project, came together to make the project happen. Tom Krodel, Regional President for Old National, said the project fits perfectly into the bank’s desire to be deeply involved in the community.
“To be a true community bank, you must be an active part of the community you serve,” Krodel said. “Old National is very committed to this community. We’re all in to support these projects.”
Gary Roan, Vice President and Manager of Community Development Banking for Old National, agreed. “The Lofts at St. Joseph’s benefits this community,” he said. “It was a blight to the neighborhood but now fills a need in the community.
“Not only is this project the right thing to do,” Roan said, “but it also allows us the opportunity to provide our services to the senior community in Huntingburg. We have a new Money Safety for Seniors program where we come in and help seniors explore ways to be careful with their money.”
Rori Chaney, Community Lending Manager for FHLBI
, said projects like The Lofts fit well into the banks mission of partnering with our member financial institutions, such as Old National, to help families afford housing and support economic growth.
“With The Lofts, we continue to building our partnership with Old National Bank,” Chaney said. “We are happy to say it is becoming a habit to meet Old National Bank partners in celebrations like this one, to open decent, safe, and affordable housing.
“It isn’t easy to assemble the funding sources to take on a project of this nature, so we applaud all of the partners that have joined together on this project.”