At last week’s Marion City Council meeting, economic Development Director Roger Holter said 10 of the September Apartments were uninhabitable.
Apartment complex manager Wendy Buchanan disagrees in no uncertain terms.
“That is bull,” she said last Tuesday.
“He also said there were 15 unoccupied; that is also not true,” Buchanan said.
According to Buchannan nine apartments are rented.
Holter admitted Friday uninhabitable was a bad term.
“The apartments have not been condemned,” he said. “The term I should have used was unleasable. If you tour the apartments you can see where there are broken windows and things falling off the walls. It’s just a mess.”
Buchanan said the apartments need some updating, but for the most part, they are fine. She said there are two apartments that have had plumbing problems.
“I’m not sure when that was a problem, but I know it was in a couple of apartments and it’s a problem that I haven’t dealt with since coming to work here in December,” she said.
According to Buchanan there are three apartments she would not rent, one because of a crack in the concrete floor and another because of a water leak.
“There are a lot of things that need fixed, but I’ve been told there was not always money to fix them,” she said.
Buchanan said she has been doing what she can to fix and clean apartments as residents move out.
“Some people do what renters do and leave a mess,” she said. “It has to be cleaned.”
The 20-year-old apartments could use a new roof, and some apartments could use new heating and air conditioning units, Buchanan said.
“They’re like any 20-year-old building; they need some updating,” she said. “Plus, what’s the point of spending money on new A/C units when the property is suppose to be remodeled soon?”
Homestead Affordable Housing informed Buchanan they would buy September in June. According to Holter, Homestead was waiting on the city to approve industrial revenue bonds for the project.
“The paperwork signed after Thursday’s meeting was the final thing Homestead needs so it can enter into the purchasing and construction stages of the project,” Holter said.
Buchanan is excited for the project to move into the next step.
“We’re excited,” she said. “We want it to happen, we need it to happen, we’re waiting for it to happen.”
Homestead owner Tom Bishop says he is excited for the project too.
“We plan on spending $600,000 in improvements for September,” he said.
Planned improvements include turning four units into two-bedroom units, handicap restrooms complete with step in showers, a computer lab, an exercise room, new heating and air units, private patios, new appliances, and upgraded technology in the community room.
“We want to make this a quality community for seniors to reside and want to reside,” he said.