Enquirer Herald

Renovation revitalizes York community

YORK -- Carrie Rakestraw knows almost all of the residents of York Townhouses, a small cluster of apartments on Railroad Avenue near downtown York.

Rakestraw, the property manager of the community, said the residents once thought their neighborhood looked a little worn down, maybe a little shabby. They have a much different opinion now, she said.

"Now people absolutely love this place. I've seen nothing but gratitude. So many people saying thank-you, so many compliments," Rakestraw said.

The reason for the residents' change of heart is because Boyd Management bought the complex earlier this year and immediately began a $1.5 million physical renovation.

"We needed it," said resident Don Goodman. "They changed the outside of the walls to vinyl siding, put in new ceiling fans, new dishwashers and washing machines. It looks good."

Goodman, who works at a brick manufacturer in Grover, N.C., has lived in the community for 12 years.

"We're real thankful for it," he said.

The community, originally built in 1986, consists of 46 apartments, affordable housing designed for low-income families.

The rehab began April 7, and by late September most of the work was finished, said Royce Bratton, Boyd Management's District Manager.

Boyd Management is the largest property management company in South Carolina, managing 364 properties, Bratton said. The Columbia-based business also is the largest property management company in the nation in terms of renovations per property, he added.

He said the United States Department of Agriculture's rural development office provided Boyd Management the $4 million loan to purchase and renovate the community and continue to make it available to low-income families.

"We take pride in what we do," Bratton said. "We get more funding from the government because we take the extra dollar and make sure the job is well done."

Bratton said the wooden siding on the apartment buildings was replaced with new vinyl siding and new windows were installed. Many of the appliances were more than 20 years old, so they were replaced, along with the carpeting and ceiling fans.

"It's really large-scale preventative maintenance," Bratton said. "When we upgrade, we're helping the residents save money and we're saving energy and helping the environment at the same time."

Also, the group installed a new, fenced-in playground this spring.

Boyd Management has renovated 18 of its properties in South Carolina so far this year, and plans to rehab 44 more in the state next year, Bratton said.

In addition to improving the units, Bratton said the company also invested in improving the street lighting for safety purposes, expanding the community's office space and installing handicap-accessible walkways that were not present before.

"We do have one resident here that uses a wheelchair," Rakestraw said. "He does use the sidewalk everyday and he is very thankful that we made that available to him."