Democrat Photo by Andy Simek
ELDERLY AND DISABLED tenants living in the five-story Lenape Apartment building in Liberty, are up in arms about the elevator they say has been broken for the last month.
Elevators Broken and
The Tenants Are Angry
By Andy Simek
LIBERTY August 25, 2006 The elevator is out and the natives are getting restless at the Lenape Apartment House in Liberty.
40 Academy Street, a.k.a the Lenape Apartments, is a five-story building housing approximately 30 seniors and disabled residents and sits on the corner of North Main St.
Since July 28, nearly one month ago, the sole elevator serving the building has been out of commission, much to the chagrin of the upper-floor residents.
Albertha McCullough, who lives in a third floor apartment, has had a life-long joint ailment which makes it difficult for her to walk.
The elevator has been broken for a month, she said, and they dont tell us anything about when its going to be fixed.
McCullough, along with several other residents in the building, have heard rumors that the problem will be fixed by the end of September, meaning another month they will have to face this inconvenience.
She added that some residents, because of this trouble, have to rely on others just to survive.
Several upper-floor residents, who requested anonymity for fear of eviction, are among those that have endured the worst of the breakdown.
Dolores (not her real name) said that she cant even bring down her garbage or her laundry without trouble, and often has to rely on her son for help.
He doesnt live that far away, but I still have to rely on someone else, Dolores said.
Its been a complete nightmare. I feel like a prisoner.
Dolores has problems with osteo-arthritis and a herniated disk, which dont allow her to get around easily without the aid of a walker.
As far as going down the stairs its not a problem. But I counted the steps the other day and there are 132.
By the time I get to the top again, my legs feel like rubber.
Dolores also said that there are people much worse off than she.
There are some older people with heart problems; one women has a broken ankle. She only lives on the second floor, but shes still scared to leave the apartment.
She added that there was also an incident where an older woman fell down the stairs and hit her head.
Its really horrible, she said.
Albertha and Dolores were two of the more outspoken residents living in the building; many were simply too afraid to say anything against the issue or the management.
Tenants Need Not Fear Management, Manager Says
When contacted, Lenape Apartments building manager Alex Mirrow said these fears were unfounded.
Mirrow, who has recently taken over the managerial position said that neither he, nor any former managers, had ever made threats against the residents of the building.
On the topic of the elevator, he explained why there has been such a long wait.
The elevator is very old, he said, and most places dont have extra pieces for it just lying around.
The broken piece, the hydraulic pump, has to be specially made to fit the antiquated shaft.
I can assure the residents that not a single day has been wasted dilly-dallying around. We simply cant get it done any quicker, said Mirrow, whose father Seymour, of Texas, owns the building.
As far as accusations of not letting the residents in on what was going on, Mirrow said, I didnt want to promise a finish date that was going to turn out to be false. Were still waiting on more information from the company were working with.
Mirrow also wanted to make sure it was clear that he was not completely unaffected by the breakdown.
My parents have already used up most of their savings to fix this elevator. Its a $43,000 project. The residents dont understand the unbelievable costs of running and maintaining this building, he said.
Back at the building, several of the residents who came forward complained of the recently raised rent, which jumped from $575 a month to over $700 a month.
Dolores said she felt the residents deserved compensation for their troubles instead of a raise on their monthly bills, an idea which Mirrow said was already in the works.
Its horrible, he said, and we dont know what we can do to make things go quicker.
The least we could do is to give some of the residents a break on their rent.