Feb. 11 2016 02:35 PM

Residents of troubled South Washington Park take case to City Council

THURSDAY. Feb. 11 — For years, residents at 3200 S. Washington Ave., a Lansing Housing Commission building on the near south side, have complained about a host of issues compromising their living space. Crime, lack of security, drugs, large groups blocking doors, threats, refuse in the hallways and common areas, human bodily waste in the common area. Bedbugs continue to be a problem in the facility.

Tomorrow, the Public Safety Committee of the Lansing City Council will question officials about why problems persist at what is officially known as South Washington Park — but which residents have dubbed the Tower of Terror. The public hearing is on the 10th floor of City Hall at 3:30 p.m.

“I have been following the issue for a number of years now," said committee member Adam Hussain, who represents the Third Ward, where the building is, “and was disturbed to learn from a number of resident many of the issues that precipitated investigative reports from local media of the past several years persists.”

Hussain

“The Public Safety Committee simply wants an update on where the LHC is with regard to their screening procedures, onsite security plans, process for analyzing the bedbug issue, eliminating the problem and guarding against future infestations, and collaborative efforts with the LPD to mitigate crime at the property,” Hussain said

Officials from the Lansing Housing Commission have been summoned to the meeting. LHC Executive Director Patricia Baines-Lake and its board chairman, Tony Baltimore did not returns calls today for comment.

Eighteen months ago, City Pulse spent several days at the complex talking to residents aged 27 to 65, on and off the record. All expressed fear for their safety or fear of retaliation from management if they used their real names.

They may have cause. Following a conversation with City Pulse, a man approached two people who had spoken with a reporter and within in earshot threatened to “blow your fucking brains out” for having spoken out.

At the time, Baines-Lake acknowledged some of the issues at the facility.

“There are concerns about blocking the doors and fights. LHC has and will continue to identify lease violators and issue termination of tenancy notices,” Baines-Lake said then. “On an infrequent basis urine and feces have been cleaned. When such issues are caused by residents, without medical emergencies, eviction notices have been issued.”

Said Hussain: “After chatting with a few residents who reside at 3200 South Washington, I spent nearly two hours on a weekend day talking with residents and witness much of that they have been dealing with.”

To gain access to the facility, which is supposed to be locked, Hussain said all he had to do was “lightly tug” on the security door and “it opened right up.”

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