Nestled in the town of Akron, IA, is a small community with a lot to love: Ridgewood Apartments.
Ridgewood Apartments rests a block and a half away from the library, post office, and several churches. Its remodel in 2014 has given its residents new kitchens, cupboards, sinks, flooring, elevator, geothermal heating and air conditioning.
Residents enjoy coffee every day at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., sometimes at the affectionately named “gazebo” located at the front of the apartments. Often, they will break bread and purchase food for the squirrels, rabbits, and birds who also call Ridgewood Apartments home.
If residents so choose, they can pay for their groceries in advance and have them delivered free of charge. Meals are also delivered from the Senior Citizen Center, which is across the street.
The nights are even more pleasant. Residents will play cards three times a week, bingo two nights a week, and host a “favorite game night” on Sunday. Residents will also sponsor a Community Birthday Party and a Community Dinner once a month.
Ridgewood Apartments also has a “Helpful Helpers” program, where the Akron Care Center’s social services director brings their quarterly newsletter to the residents to fold and prepare them for mailing. It is not uncommon for other city organizations to ask residents for help in preparing invitations, bags, or other assistance in their events.
“I think I bring new life to the building,” Manager Sharon Frerichs said. Along with being the Manager of Ridgewood for these past eleven years, she is the Mayor of Akron and a retired school teacher.
These connections allowed her to link Ridgewood with National Honor Society students. The students will frequent the residence on card nights, and clean the building on their community service day. Last winter, one student organized a free Holiday Dinner for Ridgewood. It was a full-course meal — complete with a turkey — and was so well-received by each resident.
The Siouxland Food Bank is also well acquainted with Ridgewood, going so far as to bring them food products free of charge once a month.
“When I first started 11 years ago, there were 36 units and 19 of them were empty,” Sharon said. “But I set goals for myself, and after five years, they were filled.”
The residents are proof of Sharon’s continued success. The woman who has lived there the longest has been there for 23 years. Another couple within the residence has a combined 20 years under their belts, and several others with at least 10 years of Ridgewood residents.
The people, while being the best aspect of the community, are not the only highlight. Ridgewood earned superior Management and Occupancy ratings in 2013 and 2016, and its last inspection score was a 95B.