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01/05/10 - 05:25 PM
Some residents of a Panama City high-rise apartment building are up in arms and they are speaking out. They brought their concerns to News 13.
I have been receiving emails and phone calls recently over St. Andrews Towers. They tell me it is a problem with an elevator and residents can’t much information from management. So, I paid a visit to the downtown building to check it out in this on your side Problem Solver.
“They drag everybody down the stairwell…EMTs and fire dept… “ And this resident of St. Andrews Towers is not the only one concerned about an elevator. It is one of two elevators residents use and was taken out of service for repairs last fall.
St. Andrews Towers, privately owned and operated, is hard to miss at the end of Harrison Avenue in downtown Panama City. It opened in 1978. The 14-floor high-rise apartment building is home now to 225 residents who get rental assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Nell Bates, says she has lived there for 18 years. According to Bates, “We are all old folks that live here…we can’t walk up and down stairs.. It is an inconvenience…very inconvenient. How long has this larger elevator been out of service? Since September 19th.”
Building Manager Donna Golema says it is a different time frame…not quite as long. Golema says, “Three months…since mid October…what does the fire department and other city officials say? All of the city is aware of situation…HUD is aware. All parts have to be machined…there are no parts for these elevators sitting in a warehouse…they just don’t have those kinds of parts.”
Golema says residents were notified of the elevator repairs through a letter. She also says, “anything that can be done to accommodate residents, we are doing. We are going way beyond call of duty in trying to make this more convenient. Sure it is an inconvenience. It is inconvenient for my staff who take stairs most days so they don’t tie up elevator. It is a bad situation…we are trying to get thru and make it as good as it can be.”
I did speak with Panama City Fire Department inspector Bob Goree. He says it is tougher on EMTs responding to help residents on sick calls, but there are no violations to city codes with the elevator not working.
Donna Golema says hopefully the new parts will be here soon and at that time, the second elevator will also be renovated, on a much shorter time frame.
She also says there are staff members in the building at all times monitoring the situation. Also, the staff assists in delivering Meals on Wheels to residents and they deliver packages to the residents’ apartments.
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