Orange’s ‘King Pine’ residents excited for renovations

  • King James Court resident Ron Bourque stains a guitar body outside his apartment Saturday afternoon in Orange. Bourque says he is excited King James Court and the adjacent apartment complex, Pine Crest, are both getting major renovations. The two complexes will be combined and called King Pine. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • King James Court resident Julia Desreuisseau, right, walks with her daughter Heather Desreuisseau while pushing her 22-month-old grandson Christian in a stroller on a warm Saturday afternoon in Orange. With $11.6 million in funding from MassHousing, King Pine will get new sidewalks and walkways, new roofing, paved drives, kitchen and bathroom upgrades. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • King James Court apartments last Saturday afternoon in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • King James Court resident Julia Desreuisseau, right, walks with her daughter Heather Desreuisseau while pushing her 22-month-old grandson Christian in a stroller on a warm Saturday afternoon in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • King James Court apartments last Saturday afternoon in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pine Crest apartments Saturday afternoon in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Pine Crest apartments Saturday afternoon in Orange. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/7/2019 9:52:05 PM

ORANGE — It was a sunny afternoon, and King James Court resident Ron Bourque sat in front of his apartment painting and refurbishing an old guitar.

Bourque often gets out, enjoying the outdoor areas of the apartment complex, but there are a few problems he has to overlook. The sidewalks are cracked, some areas could use repaving, and patches of ice slowly melting into puddles fill the uneven spots on the ground. Soon, however, this should all be fixed.

King James Court and the adjacent apartment complex, Pine Crest, are both getting major renovations, and will be combined into a single entity, King Pine. The properties — with 234 units combined and both managed by Schochet Companies — are already home to many elderly residents and low-income families.

With $11.6 million in funding from MassHousing, King Pine will get new sidewalks and walkways, new roofing, paved drives, kitchen and bathroom upgrades.

Residents shared their excitement about the renovations, which are already underway and are expected to finish by October, according to the nonprofit Retirement Housing Foundation, which is doing the renovations.

“I was very excited,” said Ron Bourque, who has lived at King James Court for 11 years. “I like to sit out and soak in the sun.”

He added he is particularly happy about the prospect of new windows.

“My windows, they are cold,” he said. “I think they might be the original ones.”

Ron Bourque’s wife, Melody Bourque, said she enjoys walking outside, but that new walkways are absolutely necessary for senior safety.

“I know these sidewalks are not what they should be,” she said. “I just hope they get fixed and it’s accessible. I hope it all gets done.”

Another component to the King Pine project — one already put in — is new fire alarms, which gives Melody Bourque a better sense of safety.

Others were equally excited about the renovations, seeing it as an investment that will improve the quality of life for King James Court and Pine Crest residents.

Resident Julia Desreuisseau already enjoys walking in the complex with her daughter, Heather Desreuisseau, and 22-month-old grandson, Christian Plumb. She said new sidewalks would be particularly helpful to elderly smokers, who have to walk a long distance to the edge of the nonsmoking complex.

Accessibility, she said, should also be a priority.

“I usually go out walking around here,” Desreuisseau said. “There’s a lot of old people here, which (makes new walkways) especially nice.”

Younger people at the apartment complex are also excited for the renovations, and are glad to see money is being spent on affordable housing in an area with many low-income people.

In 2018, Orange had the 18th lowest per capita among Massachusetts municipalities, $18,100 compared to the state average of $42,000.

Anthony Negron, a local college student who comes back to visit his family at the apartment complex, said new roofing, pavement and walkways would improve the atmosphere and aesthetic of the apartment complex, something not always seen in affordable housing complexes.

“It would just make the place look nicer,” Negron said. “It would be good to have a nicer environment here in general.”

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268.


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