Cleveland Manor to get multi-million dollar renovations

Midland’s very first senior living center, Cleveland Manor I, is slated to undergo an estimated $3.48 million in renovations. 

Built over 50 years ago, this apartment complex on Cleveland Drive, near Haley Street, provides housing for residents aged 62 and over who live on a limited income. The project will focus on upgrading the plumbing and electrical systems of bathrooms and kitchens in 105 apartments. 

Cleveland Manor is over 50 years old. They have 196 apartments total.Trudy Laufer, executive director, has been in her position for the last 17 years at Cleveland Manor I, which opened in 1968. Due to the ongoing demand for housing and a long waiting list for Cleveland Manor I, Cleveland Manor II opened in 1980. She says the need for affordable senior housing is still in demand locally and regionally. 

“In total, we have 196 apartments,” says Laufer. “Cleveland Manor I paid off a HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) mortgage in 2014, but with keeping the rent so low to meet the needs of people on limited income, we didn’t have a lot of money to save for the future renovations of the building. That’s where we sought out other opportunities and grants to assist with upgrading the building.”

After a building assessment, Laufer says the building is structurally sound, but the plumbing needs to be replaced. In addition to plumbing, the renovations will include replacing electrical systems in the kitchens, new cabinets and sinks, and walk-in showers. They’ll also install taller toilets in the bathrooms. 
This is a kitchen before renovations.

Tina S. Van Dam, a trustee of the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation, says in a press release, “the proposed plumbing and electrical renovations are critical to allowing these 105 apartments to continue to serve as affordable homes for many years to come."

So far, Cleveland Manor I has already secured $2.6 million in grants from local foundations. The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation has promised $1.2 million. 

“We are pleased to help preserve Cleveland Manor I, which is home to some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens,” says Jenee Velasquez, executive director of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

For the renovations, $800,000 has been contributed by The Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, $500,000 by The Charles J. Strosacker Foundation, and $100,000 by The Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation.

The kitchen renovations will include replacing electrical systems, and new cabinets and sinks.“We’re very grateful for all the contributions and we appreciate them so much,” says Laufer. “We’re excited to be able to continue housing for the community, because it’s a big need. We’re hoping to be a partner in preventing homelessness in our community. The community is stepping up to make this happen, and we’re greatly appreciative of that.”

Cleveland Manor has also saved $300,000 for the renovation project, according to Laufer. 

“We’ve just begun the design phase with Three Rivers Corporation in getting ready to eventually go out for bid, so we’re hoping to do this over the course of the next two years,” she says. “Hopefully, beginning renovations in 2022, and that should take 18-24 months.”
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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at