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Old Tanglewood Apartments receive overhaul

By By Adam Prestridge
The old Tanglewood Apartments on East Laurel Street have gone through several changes the past couple of years.
When Hurricane Ivan thumped Atmore in September 2004 it didn't pass the small apartment complex by. In fact, the damages were so severe the complex was condemned from further use.
That's when long-time Atmore residents Calvin and Mary Jane Schrock opted to buy the apartments and begin renovating them. About that same time, Hurricane Dennis menaced Atmore and further damaged the already crippled complex.
"After hurricane Ivan, the complex was condemned," Mary Jane Schrock said. "The front yard was full of trees before Ivan; it was a nice, shady area. Dennis took down the remainder of the trees, except for three and destroyed the rest of the apartments."
And if storm damages weren't enough, this summer's drought has claimed the remaining three trees, which the Schrock's were forced to remove.
But despite all the obstacles the couple of 38 years have had to overcome since remodeling their new business venture began a year ago, they said they believe it's been God's will.
"It's been a blessing in disguise that Dennis took off the rest of the roof because now all the apartments have been remodeled," Mary Jane Schrock said. "We had to gut it down to the studs and brick. We have new insulation, sheetrock, wiring and some of the plumbing has been replaced. We put a new roof on it and gave it a new design. The windows and all the doors are new as well. It's almost like a new house."
The Schrocks are closing in on completion of the final phase of the remodeling project. They expect that the last four apartments in the 16-unit complex, which has been renamed Laurel Oaks, will be completed within the next two weeks.
"It feels wonderful," Mary Jane Schrock said. "We're not quite finished yet because it's going to be gated and that's the last thing we're doing. That's why we're catering to the seniors, retired citizens and singles in the area. We want a quite, peaceful environment. That's why we are requiring criminal background checks."
Calvin Schrock has done a lot of the renovations on the apartment complex including grating of the courtyard.
"It's a family project and an investment. Something we thought we might want to do," Mary Jane Schrock said.
All the apartments feature carpeted bedrooms, laminate flooring in the living rooms and kitchens and are equipped with all new appliances including refrigerators with icemakers, glass-top stoves, dishwashers, microwaves, garbage disposals and washers and dryers. All the apartments also have new porches and new sidewalks have been poured.
Retired First National Bank loan department employee Dorothy Albert was the first resident to move into the newly designed complex. She said it has been a joy living in Laurel Oaks.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed living here," she said. "It's clean and quite. Being retired and knowing that the appliances aren't mine if something goes wrong, help is here right away. It's also nice knowing that I don't have the lawn to take care of and it's still always neat."
Albert said she also enjoys the overall look of the apartments, their convenience and the adequate space each offer.
In addition, the apartment complex's facelift has enhanced the beauty of Atmore.
"Everybody's been very cooperative and appreciative for us improving the look of the city because they were condemned," Mary Jane Schrock said.
Five of the 12 completed apartments at Laurel Oaks have already been rented and the remaining four will be completed in a couple of weeks.
For more information on renting an apartment, contact Jake Penner at 251-370-8835.