Towers of Jacksonville under renovation, residents complain of conditions

Baptist Towers is under new management, which says the complaints aren't legit. Ken Amaro looks into the complaints.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - In 2015, Retirement Housing Foundation, a faith based nonprofit, acquired the Towers of Jacksonville. The California-based organization is now renovating the apartments. Even so, residents are complaining about the conditions.

The Tenant's Association cites a lack of parking, air conditioning issues and a lack of storage, which they used to have until now.

The lack of parking, though, seems to be the big concern for these seniors who are trying to get from the front door to their apartments.

"The parking is just lousy," Jerry Riggins, a resident, said.

Riggins moved into the riverfront high-rise three weeks ago. He said given his disability, parking near the building is critical.

"My wife is having to struggle to help me get out of the vehicle to get me up," he said.

"It is not happy when you have to park your car two blocks and you got to walk and you're on a cane," said Southworth, " you can't hardly walk."

Bill Southworth, 68, moved into Baptist Towers three months ago.

"We're getting so many rumors around here, we don't know what's going on," he said.

Retirement Housing Foundation has been rebuilding the sea wall and is now using some of its parking spaces for the construction company, which has reduced the number of available spaces.

Parking is just one of the concerns raised in an email from Becky McCormick, the Tenants Association president.

"I am angry and my intent is to rattle cages," she wrote.

McCormick said residents are also upset that they're losing their storage areas; they have to be emptied by the end of July.

"Now, they're making everybody take all their stuff out," Southworth said, "I don't know why now."

McCormick wrote she's pleased with the renovation and the new decor, but said until parking, storage and a services coordinator is hired, the Towers community will continue to complain.

"They're trying to fix the parking area back there," Southworth said. "They won't tell us when they're going to do it."

Barbara Scherer is the Regional Manager. She was on the property Monday and spoke with On Your Side about the issues.

"We have done nothing but enhanced the quality of life," she said.

Scherer said in a couple of weeks they may have all 86 parking spaces available and that they will begin assigning spaces, starting with the tenant who has been there the longest.

She said they've repaired the Air Conditioning System and they're in the process of hiring a services coordinator to focus on the needs of the tenants.

As for storage, she said the fire marshal ordered the clean out of the storage areas for safety reasons.

The nonprofit is preparing for a HUD REACT inspection. The last one shows a site score of 100, an inspection score of 80.38 and a dwelling unit score of 96.66.

HUD says a score above 60 is passing.
 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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