The company's first affordable housing project, Olde Town, successfully converted an urban core neighborhood from an illegal drug haven into a community filled with working families who express pride in themselves, their homes and the central city neighborhood. Pioneer Group was commended by the City of Topeka for a
"progressive drop in criminal activity in and around these properties in the last two years…. You are contributing in direct and substantive ways to improving the quality of life in that neighborhood."
For its dedication to building solid community values while constructing quality affordable housing, Pioneer Group received the top award in the State of Kansas. In presenting the 1998 Outstanding Rehabilitation Award, the State's Director of Housing said:
"This outstanding rehabilitation of housing in a blighted area in the historic center of Topeka represents a pioneering spirit and commitment to improving quality of life in a community. Many people doubted this area could be transformed, but Pioneer Group proved what is possible with an innovative and dedicated approach to quality housing."
A commendation from the Veteran's Administration cited Pioneer Group for its willingness to consider quality of life issues and assist residents with "living skills" development. They wrote:
"Congratulations to you, Mr. Freeman, and your associates for designing a community with a social conscience. Your approach to urban development reflects intelligent forethought (on-site community police apartments, neighbors helping neighbors, hiring residents for building and grounds upkeep), humanitarian values (on-site medical clinic, social service programs, transportation, newcomer orientations), and respect for cultural diversity (organized activities, respectful management well-trained in conflict resolution). We are eager to continue our mutually beneficial relationship and are grateful that you have given our veterans quality housing that also provides them with a source for hope, sense of belonging, and tools for success."
Although the original business focus of Pioneer Group centered on affordable housing, we also found additional development opportunities in historical preservation and federal government Enhanced Use Lease projects.