Fitchburg: With new owners and a new name the former Ridgewood apartment complex has come a long way.
The Ridgewood Apartments that most people know brings to mind three fires in three months in 2004, 100's of building code violations and numerous police calls.
Rosalind Lucas moved in in August of 2004. "So many fires and stuff you have to worry about, and me having three small children it's scary. It was really scary."
In October of 2005 the property was purchased by E.J. Plesko & Associates. "They've made major, major changes in the property," says spokesman Brandon Scholz.
Some of the changes were symbolic, like splitting the complex in half and re-naming them The Pines and The Fairways, but Scholz says they've also pumped in more than $3 million to renovate the units. "They've done a lot of work inside all of the units, so those that have opened up they've remodeled inside."
That makeover was one reason why The Pines and The Fairways was named the Property of the Year by the Apartment Association of South Central Wisconsin.
Scholz says one change was simply hiring maintenance guys that were reliable.
Rosalind moved to a remodeled townhouse in September. "Since then it's been so much better, because the maintenance comes around."
Despite the praise Rosalind says they shouldn't rest on their laurels. "It has gotten a lot better, but there are still a lot more things they have to overcome."
Scholz says they'll keep investing in the complex and hope to one day put Ridgewood's troubled past behind them. "That memory of Ridgewood when things weren't too good do kind of dissipate over time."
Rosalind says that will take a long time. "It's always going to be Ridgewood. It's always going to be known as Ridgewood. This isn't The Pines, it's Ridgewood either way you look at it."
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