I was a MacArthur Park resident up until about five months ago [see “MacArthur Park’s Slumdog Millionaire,” by Bruce Rushton, Sept. 15]. I think that it is ridiculous for the blame to be put on the residents themselves or to blame Section 8. I was not a Section 8 tenant and my rent was paid on time and in full every month. On several different occasions my children and I went for days at a time in the freezing cold of winter with no working furnace and the extreme heat of summer with no air conditioning. The maintenance crew simply did not know how to fix the problem and, according to the management at the time, the owners refused to call in a professional.
In the several years I lived there I saw more than five apartment managers come and go. Only a few days after I moved in my kitchen sink fell through the countertop because it was cut too big. The tiles in my bathroom had mold and when I complained it was simply covered up with different flooring. There were empty apartments in my building that had dead animals. You would see birds trying to escape from partially opened windows and of course the birds would eventually die. I would report problems to the management office and never get a resolution.
As far as the crime in the MacArthur Park neighborhood, I agree it is bad. Gunshots were not uncommon. Fights happened on an almost daily basis. It was absolute hell. The majority of the problems were caused by a handful of tenants and their guests and management was always more than aware and chose not to evict those tenants. Security cameras were installed some years back and there was a noticeable improvement until it became clear to all that the cameras did not work. As a matter of fact the only working camera in the entire complex overlooks the office. Why won’t James Green Management invest in security cameras that actually operate?
It is my belief that Mr. Green has become accustomed to simply sitting back and collecting the money from these properties and he has to realize that he cannot do that anymore or he is going to fall into even more hot water than what he has already found himself in.
DEFENSE OF LANDLORDS
Does this mean that if I rent property, I have to live in it? Why? Why can’t a landlord live in a nice home? This guy, as far as I can tell, has plowed or is planning to plow hundreds of thousands into this place.
And the city hasn’t been much help, not providing a continuous police presence to keep non-residents out of there. Surely we can come up with a plan, like a police substation similar to the one at Qik n EZ on North Grand, or the one out on the east side. It would benefit the whole neighborhood.
Rather than having an alderman make a big show, sit down and work with this guy. He has the money to make it work and I don’t see anyone else stepping up to do anything about it.
I rent property and I live in a nice house too – far nicer than the house I rent out (which is clean and in good repair). I am tired of people who are jealous of my success complaining like this. I am not rich, but people who aren’t as well off look at me and think “Oh, he rents a house. He should have to live in a cheap house in a bad neighborhood too.” What baloney.
The news in your Sept. 15 edition of the awarding of certificates to owners of Lincoln-era buildings here – and the availability of plaques for those buildings – will be especially heartening to members of that intrepid band of some 50 civic-minded Springfieldians who 31 years ago in December met in Lincoln Library to volunteer to survey the city limits of 1861 to record what was left of the town Lincoln knew. I’m proud to have initiated that project, thankful to all those volunteers, to the Illinois State Museum and the Sangamon County Historical Society for their support, to the late Chuck Kirchner for his research, and to the Historic Sites Commission for developing the certificates and the plaques.
Save Old Springfield