Northland News

City officials get involved

Meeting leads to plan for Summit Park issues


Some promises were exacted during a Dec. 6 meeting between city officials and a delegation of residents concerned about living conditions at a Northland apartment complex.

To what extent those promises are kept will be the subject of another gathering in two or three months, according to Northland Alliance Chairwoman Joyce Bourgault.

A group of clergy members, community volunteers and others has been meeting since mid-November under the joint banners of Northland Community Stakeholders and Friends of Summit Park, representing the apartment complex off Le Marie Court south of Morse Road that's home to a largely immigrant and refugee population.

The purpose of the group, as stated on the agenda of its Nov. 28 gathering at Peace United Methodist Church on Ferris Road, is "to affect ways to improve the living conditions of the Nepali-Bhutanese, Somali and other tenants of Summit Park Apartments."

The Friends of Summit Park say there are "approximately 80 code violations that are in critical need of repair" at the complex.

Although city code enforcement officials have said some of the claims of the Friends of Summit Park are exaggerated and that management has been working to address issues, they were represented at last week's meeting at City Hall, which Bourgault had arranged through Councilman Zachary M. Klein.

City Attorney Richard C. Pfeiffer Jr. and three of his assistants were on hand, along with Klein, his legislative aide and more than a dozen other city personnel, Bourgault said.

Some current residents of Summit Park Apartments as well as some who moved out seeking better conditions also attended, she said.

"From our perspective, we talked about what we knew over the last three years ... the things that have come up that have not been addressed, and things that have been addressed which we recognized," Bourgault said. "They have heat in all the apartments ... which they had not had up until fairly recently."

Management from the complex was not initially represented at the Dec. 6 session, Bourgault said, but Pfeiffer made a phone call and someone from Summit Park Apartments arrived not long after the meeting started.

"The management has a contracting company coming in to address a lot of the problems structurally," Bourgault said. "They seem to be making a really good effort to address the complaints."

The work may start as soon as this week, she said, although the residents at the meeting cast some doubt on the management representative's claim that they have been notified of this.

"They developed a plan," Bourgault said of the city response to the group's demands. "We are going to be meeting again within the next two or three months to see what progress is being made. They're going to keep following their procedures to make sure the code violations are addressed.

"We're just going to be following up to see how it goes."