YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The garage under Youngstown’s Park Vista Independent Living Apartments has been closed for over a year after it was determined to be structurally unsound. The people living there were hoping a magistrate Thursday would order the garage be repaired and reopened. But the order never came – though it could still come and the next hearing next month.
For nearly two hours, 30 tenants of Youngstown’s Park Vista Independent Living Apartments waited for word in Municipal Court on whether the underground garage at their 11-story Fifth Avenue building would be repaired and reopened. Magistrate Meghan Brundege eventually told them no decision would come Thursday.
“While you all have been waiting the attorneys have been working diligently and have made a lot of progress,” said Brundege.
“I think we made progress in trying to frame the issues,” said the residents’ attorney Bob Clyde.
Clyde represents the tenants and was in the private negotiations taking place with Park Vista’s lawyers who contend Park Vista’s management is under no obligation to reopen the garage. The tenants want to start with getting an estimate for the work.
“I think the defendant’s position is no matter what it is they’re not going to accept it. So that’s something the court will have to decide,” said Clyde.
Clyde said the defense is claiming they don’t have to fix the garage at all.
“I’m disappointed,” said Hunter Morrison, President of the Park Vista Residents Association.
Morrison said their leases state an underground parking garage will be provided.
“And they’re inconveniencing the residents as they did all winter and they’re on track to do it for another winter. Violating people’s civil rights, violating common decency,” said Morrison.
The Magistrate previously approved an escrow account for Park Vista residents to deposit their rent money with the money possibly being used to repair the garage. But Thursday, the magistrate ordered the escrow account stopped though the $55,000 currently in the account will remain.
“I can express some disappointment about it not continuing. There’s essentially a moratorium,” said Clyde.
“I understand lawyers like to delay. But winter’s coming and we’re not going to go through another winter,” said Morrison.
Clyde says the Magistrate wants to be briefed later this month, and he hopes there’s a trial in mid-Sept. Last month, there was concern that because of problems with the garage it could collapse, taking the apartment building with it. It’s since been determined the chances of collapse are minimal at best.