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Grand Reopening at Cypress Commons after $7 Million Rehab

Wallick Communities has completed a $7 million renovation at Cypress Commons, a 44-unit affordable multifamily housing community in Middletown, OH. A grand reopening celebration was held at the community on October 17.

Renovations at Cypress Commons began in 2017 after the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) awarded Wallick close to $500,000 in 9% low-income housing tax credits. In just over a year, the following improvements were made.

Unit Improvements

  • Kitchen cabinets, countertops & appliances
  • Bathroom vanities, showers and plumbing fixtures
  • Energy efficient central HVAC
  • Carpet & resilient flooring
  • Interior & exterior doors
  • Energy efficient lighting fixtures
  • Energy Star vinyl windows
  • Redesigned units for accessibility

Building & Site Improvements

  • Enlarged playground area w/ seating
  • Community building w/ kitchenette, computer lab, laundry facilities, resident services coordinator office
  • Community patio and landscaping
  • Security cameras and improved site lighting
  • Siding, Energy Star exterior doors, entry lighting

On Wednesday, Wallick welcomed community members, project partners, as well as state, local and federal officials to Cypress Commons to see the community’s transformation. Among those in attendance were:

  • Tom Feusse- CEO, Wallick Communities
  • Nan Cahall- SW Ohio District Director, Office of Senator Rob Portman
  • Ben Thaeler- Deputy District Director, Office of Congressman Warren Davidson
  • Larry Mulligan Jr.- Mayor, City of Middletown
  • Diane Alecusan- Business & Project Administration Manager, Ohio Housing Finance Agency
  • Brian Langmeyer- Vice President of Development, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing
  • Brian Dunlap- CEO/President, RiverHills Bank
  • Julian Littlejohn- Community Manager, Cypress Commons

Once again, hats off to Wallick’s development team for another successful rehab. New kitchen appliances and bathroom fixtures may seem like small improvements, but their efforts have changed the lives of the families and seniors that call Cypress Commons home. Also, thank you to project partners OHFA, OCCH, RiverHills Bank, Sol Design & Consulting, Hooker DeJong, Inc. and Resident Resources Network.

Congratulations! Jessica Smith, Wallick Resident & Jerry Grier Scholarship Recipient, Graduates from Morehead State University

The Jerry Grier Scholarship Program was founded in 2014 by the Ohio Capital Impact Corporation (OCIC), an affiliate of the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH). The program was named after longtime OCCH board member, Jerry Grier, and is administered by the nonprofit organization, I Know I Can. Applicants have the opportunity to apply to both a tuition and performance-based scholarship. The tuition scholarship can award up to $8,000 per academic school year to help cover tuition costs. While the performance-based scholarship, can award up to $2,000 per academic school year to assist with student-related expenditures, such as textbooks, laptops and other course requirements.

Jessica Smith, Wallick resident and Jerry Grier Scholarship recipient, recently graduated from Morehead State University with a 4.0 GPA and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Read more about Jessica’s college experience and her plans for after graduation in her personal statement below.

My name is Jessica Smith and I am a 39-year-old divorced mother of two wonderful teenage children, Kaitlyn and Kaleb. I just recently graduated from Morehead State University (MSU) in December 2016 with my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW). My journey with higher education started shortly after my divorce in 2011. I originally wanted to study to be a Respiratory Therapist, but after taking two biology classes, I started to question my career choice. I went to my college advisor at Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) and told her about my concerns. I was also worried about the commute to Morehead State University’s main campus in Morehead, KY, which I had to make in order to complete the respiratory therapy program. My advisor then told me about MSU’s Ashland Campus and their social work program. So, I signed up for a couple of social work electives, loved them, and then smoothly transitioned into MSU’s social work program after my graduation at ACTC in May 2014, when I obtained my Associate of Arts (AA). I chose social work because social services helped me get to where I am today. Yes, I needed social services, but I didn’t take them as a handout, I used them as a hand up. Living here at Lawrence Village apartments gave me the ability to give my children safe and affordable housing, which alleviated a lot of stress. I worked very hard to make sure I got this degree, not only to become more self-sufficient myself, but to also learn how to effectively help others reach self-sufficiency as well. It’s just as rewarding to me to see others achieve self-sufficiency and reach goals, as it is for me to reach those same things.

In January 2015, I was officially accepted, after a challenging selection process, into MSU’s Bachelor of Social Work Program at their Ashland campus. I was one of 36 individuals chosen out of 70-some that applied for the program. We were the first group to go through this selection process and were called “The Chosen Ones”. Knowing that alone, boosted my confidence even more and motivated me to do the best I could in this program. My GPA soared from a 2.8 to a 4.0 after my first two semesters in the program. I had a close knit cohort and amazing faculty and professors to help get me through this program. With all the assignments we had, my cohort got to practice the skills we were learning together, on each other. We got constructive criticism not only from professors, but also from each other and it was the best learning experience I’ve ever had. Getting my Bachelor of Social Work was by far one of the most rewarding experiences of my life other than having my two children. They were one of my main motivations to make this change in my life.

Throughout my college experience I received several awards: Graduate Dean’s Scholar, Lola Crosthwaite Scholarship, and the Jerry Grier OCIC Scholarship. The Jerry Grier Scholarship was a huge help and covered all of my tuition my last semester plus my books. It was a huge relief to not have to add more debt onto what I had already incurred. Now that I have graduated, I am currently working on obtaining my social work licensure (LSW) and also waiting for an assessment to potentially obtain employment with the state of Ohio, working for Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, which helps Ohioans with disabilities obtain employment and reach self-sufficiency. I’ve also interviewed with several other jobs as well. I would also like to obtain my master’s degree in social work (MSW) after I get a couple years of work experience. My ultimate goal is to eventually become a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW).

–Jessica Smith, Morehead State University Graduate & Resident at Lawrence Village