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River Ridge on display

Open house features new addition to Friendship Haven

October 29, 2012

For the first time in nearly a decade, Friendship Haven opened its doors to the public to showcase it's facilities Sunday afternoon.

While visitors are always welcome, Sunday was the first time Friendship Haven welcomed them in a large-scale event since the Kenyon Place Apartments opened in 2003.

The open house featured the newest addition to the campus, the River Ridge Apartments, which saw its first residents in early September.

Article Photos

David Nelson, left, of Lohrville, chats with Aileen Sandel about her new apartment in the River Ridge complex at Friendship Haven during an open house Sunday afternoon.

"We haven't done this since the opening of Kenyon Place," said Linda Lauver, marketing and community relations representative at Friendship Haven. This really showcases the lifestyle of Friendship Haven, and there has been lots of interest; a lot of people interested in River Ridge but also the townhomes and Kenyon Place."

Lauver said the first residents moved into River Ridge, which features 56 one bedroom and studio apartments, on Sept. 4. The majority of residents moved in from the Heritage Apartments, which the new facility replaces.

"We were doing about two to three moves a day through September," said Julie Thorson, president and chief executive officer at Friendship Haven.

The open house attracted between 200 and 300 visitors from Fort Dodge, surrounding communities and even out of state.

"I've visited with people from Gowrie, Pomeroy, Rockwell City; even South Dakota" Thorson said. "This gives them a chance to see what is here We're really proud of our new facilities. It is certified assisted living, but there is so much on campus. A lot of these visitors didn't realize just how many different options we have to offer."

The new complex offers apartments with oversized and handicap accessible bathrooms and showers, full size stoves and refrigerators and living space. Each floor also offers secure storage rooms for extra belongings, laundry rooms with built-in ironing boards and washing machines with automatic detergent dispensers, a computer room, dining room offering two meals a day and the first floor features the Ann Smeltzer Creativity Room, where several activities are offered and many groups meet throughout the day.

Several residents who have been settled in their new apartments opened their homes for visitors to see.

Beth McCabe said she enjoys her first floor apartment with large corner windows overlooking Kenyon Road.

"I've been in here about six weeks," said McCabe. "But I lived in Heritage Apartments for a few years."

McCabe said she appreciates the layout of her one bedroom apartment which allowed her to display some of her husband's framed seashell collections above her kitchen cupboards. "That worked out well," she said. " I had them in a bag to get rid of them and the pictures on the wall but I had the space for them here. It's comfortable, just enough space."

David Nelson, of Lohrville, stopped by to take a look at Aileen Sandell's apartment.

"We spent about a year and a half over in Heritage," said Sandell. "I like it here, it's cozy."

Sandell said she appreciates being close to the activity room.

"It's being used all of the time," she said. "I know of at least four groups that meet there. And you can reserve it when you have visitors. It's great, I love it for when the grandkids are here, we all just spill over into the activity room."

Lorna Cline, of Callender, came to the open house to see a few friends, including Donna Light, who recently moved into a new studio apartment. Cline said she still enjoys the farm life, but many of her former neighbors have made Friendship Haven their home in their retirement years.

"I've got a lot of friends here," said Cline. "Lots of ladies who were my neighbors."



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