YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Three weeks ago, we reported on structural problems at Youngstown’s Park Vista Independent Living Apartments. Since then, the residents have learned the problems aren’t as bad as originally thought.
There’s no immediate danger of anything collapsing but still, some residents have filed a lawsuit to get the garage reopened.
On July 8, Youngstown Law Director Jeff Limbian posted a letter at Youngstown’s Park Vista North Tower on Fifth Avenue. It warned the people living in the 11-story apartment building of the “structural integrity in the underground garage” and to take “steps to secure your safety.”
Since then, Hunter Morrison, president of the Park Vista Residents Association, has learned the garage and the apartments are not connected.
“The likelihood of a collapse is minimal at best,” Morrison said.
But the garage is still an issue. It, along with the parking lot on top, has been closed for a year. The orange fence was just put up this week.
“If they were that concerned about the safety of the residents who were walking across this, it would have been put up a year ago. Why they went to the trouble of doing it now, I think, it’s all for show,” Morrison said.
The elderly people living at Park Vista, who were promised an underground garage with access to an elevator, have had to park and walk for a year.
“In six months, this is hell. This is really awful if you’re 80 or 90 years old and if your car is snowed in,” Morrison said.
Morrison provided pictures inside the garage, some of which showed a large area of the ceiling that appeared to be deteriorating. Morrison called the repairs “routine maintenance” and doesn’t think it would be too expensive to fix.
“Nothing has happened,” Morrison said.
So with the help of lawyer Bob Clyde, a magistrate in Youngstown Municipal Court allowed the Park Vista residents to put their rent payments in escrow. The court will now decide whether to force the company to use the money to repair and open the garage.
“The escrow allows the tenant to go in and say these were the violations, we need an order finally to get it fixed. I think we have a pretty strong case,” Clyde said.
Park Vista opened in 1970 as high-end executive apartments.
“It was the best apartments in the Valley,” Morrison said.
When Morrison moved in three years ago, there was a waiting list. Now, he says it’s 40 percent vacant. He blames the lack of interest on the lack of an underground garage.
“It still has a great reputation and there are a number of people, a number of our residents who say, ‘I’ve got people who want to come here but I tell them not yet. No, not yet. Oh, no, not yet. They haven’t fixed it yet,'” Morrison said.
WKBN has tried repeatedly to talk with Park Vista’s management about what’s happening with the garage at the north building, but no one will return our calls. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday, so we should know more then.