RIVER FALLS -- Two long-standing River Falls Housing Authority apartment buildings have undergone extensive facelifts after receiving $2.6 million in funding following the government shutdown in January 2019.

Seventy-seven occupied units in both Edgewater and Briarwood Apartments, built in 1976 and 1979 along North Main Street, underwent renovation construction beginning in March 2019 and were recently finished by Braden Construction, a local company.

While the buildings were both well-kept over the years, this was the first major renovation for Edgewater and Briarwood, RFHA Executive director Anne McAlpine said.

“These renovations allow us to upgrade our current housing, reduce our energy costs and continue to provide quality housing for the foreseeable future,” McAlpine added.

Funding was provided from Multi-Family Housing Revitalization, a program through the United States Department of Agriculture. RFHA had applied in 2016 and updated the application in 2018. Contracts were awaiting signatures over the winter when the government shutdown began.

The two complexes house people 62 and older and those with disabilities. Their units now include updated flooring, kitchen cabinets and appliances, vanities, plumbing lighting and window replacements.

Three apartments also were gutted and reconfigured to meet American with Disabilities Act standards, allowing both Edgewater and Briarwood to offer two fully adapted units for people using wheelchairs.

Common spaces were refreshed with window, elevator parts, fire alarm and smoke detector replacements, new carpeting and resurfaced parking lots.

Tenants remained in their units during the eight months of construction, but were welcoming new upgrades to their living spaces, McAlpine said.

“I’m really proud how the tenants have handled these disruptions. It’s gone smoothly and it’s been well-planned. We always knew what was going to happen next,” McAlpine said.

They baked snacks for Braden employees who began to “feel like an extended family,” McAlpine said.

A celebration of the completed construction will take place 3-6 p.m. Oct. 30, an open house for Halloween. Children are invited to dress in costume and bring parents and friends to tour one apartment in both Edgewater and Briarwood Apartments and collect treats.

More about River Falls Housing Authority

  • Created in 1967 by a city resolution, RFHA's mission is to provide "partner with the community to assess housing needs and opportunities to be proactive, creative and collaborative in the development and delivery of fair, safe, sustainable and inclusive housing programs," McAlpine said.
  • RFHA serves persons 55 years or older, persons who are disabled, families with children and low income households.
  • 264 households now benefit from federally funded income-based rent programs administered by RFHA.
  • In River Falls' community, waiting lists for affordable housing for families with children exceed 18 months and the waiting list for Housing Choice Voucher rent assistance is over three years long.