Long suffering residents at a problem-plagued apartment complex are finally finding some relief after a local elected stepped in to help.
As part of the relief, Senator Jeff Klein attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, April 15, for the reopened community room at Winthrop Gardens, which had been closed to residents for years.
Klein has been acting as mediator between management and tenants in the three-building Allerton complex since they reached out to his office with numerous complaints.
Beyond the reopening of the community room, main issues include elevators that often break down and are frightening to ride in, and maintenance of the parking lot.
Resident and community leader Joe Thompson sees both as safety issues.
Lynn Artesona, president of the tenents association, said there is not enough staff to keep the building’s hallways properly cleaned and maintained. There are about five workers for three buildings with 328 apartments.
Artesona said that management is now responding to maintenance issues tenants brought to Klein’s office.
“They were sitting back on their laurels until they had a meeting with Senator Klein,” she said.
The reopened community room will only be used for tenant association meetings, but a Klein spokesperson said its hoped the room can be made available for other events in the future as discussions with management continue.
Thompson said the events that used to be held there gave elderly residents something to do and a place to go. But in-house tenant association meetings are still a victory for the building’s elderly and disabled residents, who know the community room is convenient and accessible.
“He’s extremely effective when it comes down to these issues,” Thompson said of Klein.
“When I first learned of the issues faced by residents at Winthrop Gardens, I knew that we had to do something to ensure that basic services and safety were addressed head-on,” Klein said in a statement. “That’s why I met with residents and management in February to discuss how we can work together to improve these conditions. With the long-awaited re-opening of the community room, I believe Winthrop Gardens is heading in the right direction.”
A spokesperson for The Pinnacle Group, which owns and manages the property, said that when the company acquired the Olinville property around 2005, the buildings were in poor condition. He said that since then the group has been improving the property and will continue to be responsive to issues.
“The company was pleased to work with Senator Klein to identify issues,” he said, adding that Klein’s office has helped to organize tenant requests so that Pinnacle can focus on those that need to be addressed.