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Problem Solvers called to investigate the Summit Pointe Apartments

Posted at 5:48 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 18:02:26-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The owners of a Petersburg apartment complex took some responsibility, but also blamed city leaders for the condition of the property. While neighbors at Summit Pointe Apartments on Summit Street just want a nicer place to call home.

"For a whole year, I've been trying to get these potholes fixed," neighbor Mary Coles said. "I can't afford to keep driving through that hole, it's literally damaging my car."

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When the CBS 6 Problem Solvers arrived to investigate Coles' concerns, other issues were immediately apparent.

Uncollected trash and a barricade blocking a city street were two glaring problems with the property.

"It's a work in progress," Marty Rennert, with Summit Pointe Apartments, said. "There have been issues stemming from a City Council, that does not respond to communities."

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Owners purchased the 60-acre apartment complex two years ago.

In that time, they said they've spent $16 million on renovations and rent out more than 400 apartments.

Rennert said a lack of relationship with city government has hurt his tenants.

"We'd like to thank [the Problem Solvers]," Rennert said. "We've had more communication [with the city] in the last week than we've had in the last year."

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Rennert said issues with the city and water meters have prevented the complex pool from opening. He said an offer to buy and install street lights around the complex stalled.

"They said City Council had to authorize that. City Council has yet to allow us to even introduce our ideas," he said.

After the CBS 6 Problem Solvers began asking questions, the city started to fill the potholes in the roads around the neighborhood.

"This is the first time that we've seen all the potholes fixed, because they just did them, after your involvement," Rennert said. "We are still willing to invest heavily in this complex, and we don't have any partners in the city, that have said, yes, we would like to work with you, outside of one department."

The parking lots belong to the complex and the large pothole that irked Mary Coles has now been repaired.

“I’ll take personal responsibility for that," Rennert said. “I had pushed it off to try and get to better weather and unfortunately that was a mistake."

Most of the debris was also cleaned up.

“The larger debris is, generally speaking, from an outside source," Rennert said. "People come and illegally dump."

Neighbor Antonio Fisher said he's seen it happen.

“I witnessed someone that don’t live here, come out here to our property, dump their trash, standing on the back of his truck, into that dumpster," he said.

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The city also required the pallet barricade, which was initially installed to keep traffic away from construction crews, removed.

The street is now back open.

Interim Petersburg City Manager Kenneth Miller said he was willing to work with the apartment owners to improve the neighborhood.

"Since I've been Interim City Manager, he and I have had conversations and we are working on some of his challenges," Miller said. "I look forward to a really good working relationship with him."

Miller said the city's public utilities department is drafting a letter to move forward with the apartment owners and Dominion Energy to get more lighting at the complex and working to fix the water meter.

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