City Council, residents demand repairs of apartment buildings

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Four apartment buildings on Castle Ridge Road have residents calling for change.

"I think they either need to fix it and let someone decent move in or just tear them down," said Amanda White of Montgomery.

She's not the only one.

Councilman Glen Pruitt was at the complex nearly 16 months ago, when workers boarded the place closed.

He says criminals and transients have destroyed the inside of these apartments.

"They're ransacked. Everything from busted appliances to spray painting to knocking out walls, pulling up copper, whatever you think of, they've done it," Pruitt explained.

Right now, only one of the 16 units is occupied. The others have sat empty since 2008.

Tuesday, property owners stood before the City Council and pleaded for their right to keep their business license.

They say repair work is being done--but criminals are pushing them back nearly every time.

"We've gone into those units to work on the insides of the units, only to see vandals come in, tear boards off, get in the unit and destroy the unit," explained Eddie Gillenwater, who represents Castle Ridge Apartments.

Police targeted the area last Fall as part of a special operation to cut down on crime.  Now, owners are asking for more protection.

"Until we address the criminal activity, we're not going to be able to see the right people moving into the community," Gillenwater said.

City leaders say that's one part of the equation, but they want to see results.

"The last thing the City Council wants to do is tear this down.  We need affordable housing, but we need good affordable housing," Pruitt said.

Owners have three months to make major progress in any renovation work. 

If council members aren't convinced by June, the owners face losing their license or demolition of the apartments.

©2010 WSFA. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.