The City of East Ridge moved Thursday to condemn the two remaining buildings at the Superior Creek Lodge on N. Mack Smith Road.
In a 20-minute meeting with SCL owner David Gysin, his attorney and an engineer hired by Gysin, officials concluded that the remaining 128 units in Buildings B and D are unsafe for tenants.
Fire Chief and Acting City Manager Mike Williams said that the city has done “everything by the book” and maintained the actions of codes enforcement officials were strictly undertaken because of “life safety” issues.
“We’re looking out for the best interests of the citizens,” Williams said Thursday afternoon. “We care. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be doing this.”
On Wednesday evening, codes officials along with law enforcement officers served a condemnation notice on Buildings A and C, comprising 138 units. The removal of the residents was orderly and without incident.
Kimberly George with the local Salvation Army helped those displaced Wednesday find temporary housing. She said via text message on Thursday that she was fielding many calls and meeting with community agencies to best determine additional resources. She said that the Salvation Army is planning on helping in any way it kind to serve the residents displaced on Thursday.
Williams said that during Wednesday’s condemnation action that he instructed all city personnel to treat those displaced with courtesy and compassion.
Thursday’s condemnation of the remaining two buildings was a result of an engineers’ inspection of those buildings earlier in the day.
Williams said the engineer concluded the other buildings had problems, primarily on external balconies, so the city is taking the additional action to keep residents safe. He said during Thursday’s meeting with SCL officials at City Hall that the conclusion was that the structures could be repaired to meet codes enforcement requirements.
In a letter obtained by East Ridge News Online dated Sept. 9 from the City’s Department of Fire Rescue Division of Bulding/Codes addressed to Superior Creek Lodge, it states that officials inspected a unit in the building on a complaint. Inspectors noticed problems with a “concrete fix” at Building C and it was apparent that some work had been done to reinforce a ceiling/column. A maintenance manager removed a portion of the soffit which revealed “rotten structural members that support the balcony walkway above.”
The letter goes on to state that officials discovered “numerous areas of rotten structural members” on balconies that serve as the main entrances to the units in the buildings.
The City cited a section of the International Property Maintenance Code and the City’s Municipal Code giving officials authority to immediately condemn the building as it is “an immediate danger to human life or safety.”
The letter required SCL owners to hire a structural engineer to inspect these conditions and provide the City with a report and a plan to repair the conditions to make it safe for tenants to return.
East Ridge officials documented the conditions with almost 100 photos of the deteriorating building.
According to Eric Rieger, Pastor of Jones Memorial Methodist Church, East Ridge United Methodist Church is acting as an emergency shelter for the displaced families with children from SCL.
Pastor Rieger said they will need help 24 hours a day, hosting the families over the weekend. They need kitchen help also. People are urged to donate food to help feed the displaced people.
According to officials from ER United Methodist, there are nine families staying there until Sunday. Church members are asking for volunteers to help watch over the folks staying there and to help serve food. The volunteers will work in six-hour shifts. Contact the church at 892-8451 if you want to help.