FORT KNOX, Ky. — Knox Hills officials are moving 2020 into the success category.During a week of reflection at the end of December, they recently looked back over the year – a challenging time riddled with roadblocks thrown up by COVID-19 – and have concluded that they feel a real sense of satisfaction.“I am incredibly proud of the Knox Hills team for their efforts in ensuring we were able to sustain operations and most importantly, take care of our residents in the midst of a challenging year,” said John Bredehoeft, project director for Knox Hills. “Our number one priority is always to provide safe and healthy homes, communities and workplaces for our residents and team members.”Officials categorized their successes into six areas: sustained COVID-19 operations during the pandemic, to include ongoing property maintenance and improvements; community improvement from out-year funding; Resident Advisory Board successes; resident satisfaction; virtual events and engagements; and, charitable contributions. Sustained operations during COVIDAs COVID-19 shut down many offices and support channels at Fort Knox beginning in mid-March, officials at Knox Hills channeled their support efforts toward self-help delivery, appointment-only office hours and contactless leasing for new residents.“Knox Hills has always provided our residents with an opportunity to perform minor do-it-yourself repairs and replacements to their homes,” said Staci Burton, marketing manager at Lendlease, Knox Hills’ parent organization. “In order to ensure we are practicing safe social distancing for both our team and residents, we are continuing to offer a delivery service for self-help items.”Self-help tasks include replacing light bulbs and air filters, touching up paint and more. Burton suggested calling 502-799-6565 with a list of items needed, and they will deliver them to the doorstep.As for appointments and leasing: “Residents have been encouraged to use our website, Resident Portal, telephone and email to stay in contact with our team,” said Burton.A big win for Knox Hills has been the introduction of the RentCafe Resident App, particularly the new “I’m on my way” notification. Burton said it delivers peace of mind to residents, who receive a notification when a technician is traveling to their residence.Despite virus constraints, more than 26,000 service orders were performed this year. Burton said the emphasis was on reducing aged service orders by ensuring that repairs were done right the first time.This, coupled with training by the new Maintenance University, which deployed here, has increased the skill level of the team.“We’ve done all this to better serve residents’ needs,” said Burton. Out-Year funding put to workEarlier in the year, Knox Hills was given the green light to use out-year funding to the tune of $20 million for housing projects. Wasting no time, they prioritized the work, contracted it out, and started work.The bulk of the effort resides in the North Dietz community, which is close to 25% complete with major interior and exterior renovations. According to Burton and Bredehoeft, more than 250 homes will receive makeovers by the projected completion date in autumn 2021.Besides the North Dietz community, contractors have completely replaced roofs in more than 60 homes throughout the Pritchard Place community and are nearly 55% done with HVAC unit replacement throughout the Morand Manor and Dietz communities.They expect to be done with the HVAC replacements also by fall of 2021.Beginning right after the New Year, they will replace refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves in several communities with a projected completion date of spring 2021. RAB on the jobKnox Hills launched an initiative late last year that they hoped would bridge any gaps between residents and housing officials. Called the Resident Advisory Board, or RAB, it is made up of residents within key communities who are elected to represent their constituents.The RAB officially kicked off in January with seven members. Today, they are down to five due to PCS moves, but are looking to fill the vacant seats.Officials said they have achieved some notable milestones since they first met.“We have been able to address and gather feedback on major interior and exterior renovations in our North Dietz community, as well as a variety of community improvements currently underway to ensure we are meeting the needs of our service members and families today,” said Burton. “The RAB has also brought to our attention a community-wide concern with landscaping.”That concern led to Knox Hills developing better ways to communicate scheduling and landscaping delays.Board members have looked for fresh ways to celebrate residence at Fort Knox, including hosting pizza parties and food drives, and volunteering during National Night Out and the Dec. 17 Holiday Reverse Parade. Virtually engagedOfficials at Knox Hills said COVID restrictions put a stop to many of face-to-face gatherings in which their managers and residents had grown accustomed to participating. Not to be deterred, they developed social distancing policies at events that would permit it and virtual events that wouldn’t.“Despite the difficult environment created by the pandemic, I am proud of our team for coming together to create new and unique ways to stay connected to our families through virtual and low contact events,” said Bredehoeft. “Staying connected to our residents has been incredibly important, and this is just one of many ways we have been able to do so.”In fact, they have participated in over 30 virtual events, contests and low-contact events, including a drive-in movie for graduating Fort Knox Middle High School seniors, several events for Resident Appreciation Month in October, and the reverse holiday parade.“We were honored to have partnered with the Fort Knox Exchange to bring a little holiday cheer to our Fort Knox families through [the parade],” said Burton. “We also hosted a weeklong Five Gifts of Christmas Facebook event, where three residents were chosen to win all five gifts listed on the daily posts.” Satisfying contributionsBesides all the events, Burton said they also offer BlueStar scholarships to eligible high school students at Fort Knox. During the last school year, two students earned scholarships. Knox Hills also donates money into a fund, called the Lendlease (US) Community Fund, which goes to organizations that help military Families in need.All of this effort adds up to an exceptional level of service, according to Bredehoeft, which is reflected in a 4.6 out of 5.0 satisfaction rating they receive from move-in, move-out and service request surveys. They aren’t focused on the past, however.“As we leave 2020 behind,” said Bredehoeft, “we look forward to continuing to serve our families and provide a community where they can live, work and thrive in the New Year.”