East Ridge city officials condemned two buildings at Superior Creek Lodge, Wednesday evening.
Codes Enforcement officials and officers with the ERPD arrived at the 400-unit facility on N. Mack Smith Road after 7 p.m. to serve notice, said Fire Chief and Acting City Manager Mike Williams.
Chief Williams said codes enforcement officials were acting on a complaint of a pest infestation Tuesday. They did not find infestation but did discover problems with the more than 40-year old structure in Buildings A and C, he said.
Chief Williams said that walkways on the upper levels of the three-story buildings were deemed unsafe and posed a threat to safety and the lives of the people living there.
City officials said they had the approval of the State Fire Marshal’s office and the City Attorney on the move to condemn the building immediately. Officials said no court order was required to turn out the residents occupying the 138 rooms in the two buildings because it falls under the jurisdiction of the local building inspector and Fire Marshal. Officials said they did not know how many people were displaced as a result of the condemnation of the buildings.
“We’re not putting anybody out on the street,” Chief Williams said. “Some of these folks have called family members to come and help them move their stuff out.”
Williams did not know when the building was last inspected. He did say that in a letter delivered to Superior Creek Lodge owners on Wednesday that the city is requiring an engineer issue a report on the structural integrity of the buildings.
David Gysin, owner of SCL, said he was en route to the property at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Gysin said that he is committed to make whatever repairs are necessary to insure the safety of his tenants.
Officials with the City said that the responsibility to find the displaced people a place to stay is on the landlord.
At about 9 p.m., just before a storm blew in, residents were seen lined up around the front and sides of SCL’s administrative building in an orderly fashion. SCL staff were calling out room numbers and the names of residents so they could go inside where Gysin was writing checks to refund rent money, and staff was offering what assistance they could to the residents.
“We will get all the engineering reports and contractor reports to fix what we have to fix so people can come back,” Gysin said in a telephone interview at 10:45 Friday night.
He said there was “zero rancor” among more than 300 people who were displaced during the action.
East Ridge officials said that personnel from the Salvation Army were on hand to offer advice to the displaced about where they might be able to find help from various private community groups.
Brad Hayen, the city’s Chief Building Inspector, said that specific details of why the two buildings were immediately condemned would be available on Thursday morning from the city.
In the summer of 2010 the City of East Ridge attempted to have Superior Creek Lodge closed as a public nuisance. Officials then said that the facility was a place that harbored criminals and a drain on the city’s public safety resources, as hundreds of calls for service were made to police and fire over a year’s time.
The City settled a lawsuit with SCL in December of 2014. SCL complied with a court order which among other things required them to install fencing and a security gate to restrict access to the premise, as well as retaining a full-time security officer for the complex.
East Ridge News Online will update this story when more information becomes available.