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      A long overdue renovation at Pine Ridge Apartments

      Pine Ridge Apartments in Marquette will be undergoing some long overdue renovations that will be starting soon. This will, however, require tenants to temporarily live without a bathroom or kitchen.

      They're calling it the Stack Project. The Pine Ridge Apartment building has been lived in for more than 40 years and has long needed some serious maintenance. After five years of planning by the Marquette Housing Commission, the $1.3 million Stack Project is finally kicking off in the next few weeks. The contractor is First Contracting out of Ovid, MI. Some work will begin in June in the basement that will only involve some periodic shutting off of the water for short periods of time while pipes are replaced. Work in tenants' apartments is expected (but not confirmed) to begin July 9 that will involve replacing the waste pipes in the bathrooms and the pipes, floors, and cabinets in the kitchens. Unfortunately, this will mean tenants will temporarily have no bathroom or kitchen.

      "We have required that the contractor ensure us that it will be no longer than six days that a tenant will be without bathroom facilities," said Sharon Kivikko, Marquette Housing Commission Executive Director.

      During those six days, tenants will have to use an empty apartment's bathroom and kitchen on their floor. The empty apartments' bathrooms will be professionally cleaned daily. The Marquette Housing Commission will also provide a commode for each apartment during renovations if the tenants do not want to leave their apartments to use the bathroom.

      Tenants are welcome to remain in their apartments during renovation, and no more than 10 tenants are expected to be without a kitchen or bathroom at a time. Renovations will be vertical in the building, so during the majority of the project, only one apartment per floor will be affected at a time.

      In the face of such improvements, most feedback from the tenants has been positive, and Kivikko plans to meet with every tenant personally to make sure that their needs are met.

      "They're understanding that while it is going to be an inconvenience to them, it is a necessity to do. This is not a project we are taking lightly on doing because we want to. This is a project we're doing because we have to do it," Kivikko said.

      "I'm not going to be seriously bothered by it. I don't think anybody is. There are going to be some people unhappy about it, but they'll get over it," said Peter Lavoy, resident of 12 years at Pine Ridge Apartments.

      Aside from the health and safety concerns, one of the main goals of the project is to make the building more handicap accessible. Six apartments will be completely converted to become handicap accessible. It will include a roll-in shower, and a fully accessible kitchen. The Superior Alliance for Independent Living, or SAIL, assisted in designing the rooms. There will be a total of seven handicap accessible apartments after the project is finished.

      Forty-eight of the more than 100 tenants will be directly affected through September during Phase 1, but the Stack Project won't be completely finished for a few years.