EAST PEORIA — The Mel Hasty Retirement Center has completed a substantial renovation both inside and outside the 60-unit, five-story building.

EAST PEORIA — The Mel Hasty Retirement Center has completed a substantial renovation both inside and outside the 60-unit, five-story building.

“The residents are loving it,” said Michelle Jewell, the facility’s manager. “We’re getting so many compliments saying the place feels really homey.”

Having managed the low income-eligible independent living center at 130 N. Main St. since it opened in 1989, Jewell added, “I’ve been really excited for the change.”

As part of the $3.5 million remodel, the building now has a new roof, as well as fresh paint and new windows throughout.

“The inside also got a total redo,” Jewell said. “Along with the windows, all the units got new tub kits, new cabinets, counter tops, lighting, flooring and appliances. The units were basically gutted, and everything that got put back in was new.”

In the area of safety upgrades, the building has its first-ever sprinkler system and improved security with new doors that allow for swipe-card entry, as well as energy efficient lighting and new fencing.

“In addition to all new furniture in the common area, residents also received new appliances in their laundry room, a new kitchen in the common area and all brand new computers in the computer room,” Jewell said. “We also added free wi-fi throughout the building for the residents, and we now have cable and a cable TV downstairs in the common area that we never had before.”

With 45 one-bedroom units and 15 efficiency studios, the facility now offers six fully handicapped-accessible units and six semi-accessible units. The semi-accessible units feature a sink that wheelchairs can roll up to and lower light switches.

During the 10 months that it took to complete the project, about 20 residents were moved temporarily to hotels, and their property was put in storage for anywhere from 30 to 60 days, Jewell said.

Core Construction of Morton completed the renovation using local union labor, she added. It was the first major remodel of the building since it opened.

“Periodically, as units would open, we’ve changed carpeting, but none of the cabinetry or tubs or lighting or windows had ever been replaced, nor had the roof,” Jewell said. “I think we replaced all the hallway carpet one time since 1989.”

Jewell said the facility’s owner, Laborers’ Home Development Corp., is taking advantage of tax credit financing to renovate some of its facilities throughout Illinois. LHDC is a private not-for-profit developer of affordable housing in underserved communities.

“We find investors through businesses to invest in the rehab, and they in turn get tax credits for 10 years to get their money back,” Jewell said.

The Mel Hasty Retirement Center is currently full with a waiting list of three for a one-bedroom unit and two for a studio unit.

“Ours is a prime location because half of our residents don’t drive, but within a four-block radius there are grocery stores, drug stores, a bus route and restaurants,” Jewell said. “We’re right in downtown East Peoria where everything is very close for them.”

The facility is open to residents 62 years and older. Residential programs include potluck dinners, musical entertainment, cookouts and crafts to encourage fellowship.

For more information, call the facility at (309) 694-0404.