New owners plan upgrades at Greenwood Tower Motel
TED AMSDEN Northumberland Today.comFrom left, visitor Ken Linton chats with The Tower residents Trisha Brady, Donna McCrone and Ruth Wilkinson yesterday in front of the historic building on Peter Street in Port Hope.
PORT HOPE - New owners Bruno Harilaid and his son Mihkel Harilaid took possession of the Greenwood Tower Motel in Port Hope on March 2.
The new name of the property, located at 162 Peter St., is the Tower Hotel.
Approximately 45 residents live in the single-storey motel-style residences surrounding the historic centre building constructed in 1866.
The former motel has functioned for over six years as a low-cost rental location. During that time residents have complained about faulty services and occasional periods with no electricity.
When she first heard the news of the sale, six-year resident Trisha Brady says, she was going to move out because she feared only the worst. But she was told that the plumbing, electrical and roof would be upgraded.
"It's awesome," she says of the Harilaids' plan. "I would like to see this place brought up to five-star rating like it used to be."
Seven-year resident Donna McCrone agrees.
"I think it's absolutely great," she says. "Everybody was scared at first. We thought that we would have to get out of here. But this is my home. I love it."
She says the state of the buildings was such that when a woman became pregnant while living in the motel, she would be told by Children's Aid Society of Northumberland that she would have to move out.
But with the buildings being fixed up, she says, "now they can live in the homes they were born in."
Ruth Wilkinson was on-site yesterday. She is the chair of the board of a recently formed not-for-profit organization called The Green Wood Coalition. She and several other people have been assisting residents during the past four years with legal, health and food issues. At present, due to organizing abilities of the coalition, eight local churches contribute to hosting a Wednesday-evening meal for all the residents.
Some of the residents have mental and addiction issues, Wilkinson says, and her coalition will continue to help these individuals.
Wilkinson says the coalition will apply for grants, continue to work with the residents to help them accomplish what they find difficult, help to make sure the housing needs of the residents are met and work to educate the Port Hope community about this micro-community that has grown up on Peter St.
A site foreman and crew are already cleaning out the garbage and old furniture in the centre building and an additional one that is located behind, she says.
The owners have plans to renovate the historic structure and the tower so that they can be used for weddings and banquets, Wilkinson says.