When a group of leaders within area Friends churches saw a need for affordable apartments for older adults in the New Castle area, they decided to work together to make a difference. Thirty years later, Raintree Square apartments are celebrating their third decade of serving the area with quality independent retirement apartments. Raintree will celebrate this anniversary at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 28, in the garden gazebo area located behind the building.
Local attorney David Brock and former staff member Linda Brock have been involved with Raintree Square since the beginning and recently shared some of the history behind the organization. David Brock noted that the idea for a retirement living apartment complex in the area began with Larry Barker from Wilmington, Ohio. Barker founded Raintree Friends Housing and worked alongside a board consisting of church members from New Castle and Wilmington.
The group looked at several locations for the apartment building, including in downtown New Castle where the Arts Park is currently located. They settled on the building’s current location on State Road 3 near Riley Road and began construction in 1988.
Current support services supervisor Phyllis Denney has worked on the Raintree Square staff since it opened, serving in various roles, caring for and helping residents.
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know all the wonderful people who have lived here at Raintree,” Denney shared. “I feel honored that God put me here to help all these people.”
The focus on residents has always been central for the Raintree Friends Housing organization, the non-profit entity which operates Raintree Square. This began with founder Larry Barker.
“Larry was always very concerned with the well-being of the residents,” according to David Brock.
Several administrators have served Raintree over the years including Keith Kendall, Pat Guglielmi, Mary Glen Hadley, and Phil King. In 2015, the non-profit Raintree Friends Housing board of directors assumed the operational responsibilities for Raintree Square. Steve Wray currently serves as the administrator for Raintree Square, leading a team of 28 staff members. The Raintree Friends Housing Board is comprised of Friends church members from New Castle, Spiceland, Knightstown, and Mooreland.
Amenities at Raintree Square have evolved over the years and now include satellite television, wireless internet, daily activities, and many special events. The apartments are designed for adults over the age of 55 who want to live independently, but also have the option to be part of social activities.
“We feel like once someone moves in, they are part of our family,” noted Steve Wray. “They can choose to be involved or uninvolved as they wish, but we make it clear that they are loved and cared for by our staff. To me, that’s the advantage we can provide as a living facility that’s operated by a non-profit entity.”
Tours of the current facility will be available during the Anniversary Celebration on September 28. The public is welcome at this event.