Big grant, volunteers help revamp Dubuque apartment community

A Dubuque affordable housing complex is being revamped, thanks to grant funding from a national home improvement company.

A project to update the outdoor and community facilities at Kennedy Park West, 2671 Owen Court, was selected as one of the recipients of Lowe’s 100 Hometowns grants, which provided funding to 100 projects in 36 states to benefit local communities this year.

Kennedy Park West was the only project selected in Iowa. Tracy Morrison is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. She noted that with 73 families, Kennedy Park West is the largest of the apartment communities run by Catholic Charities.

About a dozen Dubuque Lowe’s employees spent Tuesday helping improve the landscaping at the complex, including Store Manager Mike Bryson. He said he has helped work on several community projects during his time at Lowe’s but never one as large as Kennedy Park West.

Bryson said the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns grant put around $104,000 toward the project.

“It’s really humbling to be part of that,” he said.

Bryson said the project also includes replacing pavement and sidewalks throughout the entire complex, as well as adding railing to areas with stairs.

Tara Welty, Kennedy Park West property manager with Catholic Charities, said more handicapped parking spaces will be added to the campus. The basketball court for the residents also will be resurfaced.

She also said residents aren’t allowed to have individual grills due to the close proximity to the apartment buildings. So, each apartment building will get a community space complete with a grill and picnic tables.

Welty added that both Kluck and Kluesner construction companies are aiding in the project, which started two weeks ago. The goal is to have everything completed by Oct. 1.

For Kennedy Park West resident Christina Collins, the new community spaces will be the best addition of the project.

Collins, her boyfriend and four children have lived at Kennedy Park West for more than four years. She said she loves living there, as their previous apartment was closer to heavy traffic and didn’t have as much room for her children to play.

With the addition of outdoor spaces for residents, Collins said, her family and neighbors can take advantage of having a nice place to hang out.

“We can go out and enjoy nature. We don’t want to be inside all of the time,” she said. “My kids are excited about everything. They keep asking me, ‘When is the basketball court going to be done? When are the benches going to be done?’”