Tenants Frustrated, Still Displaced After Flood

By KBJR News 1

October 16, 2012 Updated Oct 16, 2012 at 9:34 PM CDT

Barnum, MN (Northland’s NewsCenter) --- It’s been nearly five months since the June floods devastated the community of Barnum and several of the town’s senior citizens are still without a home.

Construction is moving slow at The Barnum Parkside Apartments after an inch of water flooded the ground level.

An 80-year-old woman is left wondering when she'll be able to move back into her home.

"When you get to be our age, your home is kind of your security,” Delores Weske said.

Weske has been living with family members since the flood took her home.

She isn’t paying rent at her apartment, but says she feels frustrated and unsettled because the building's management hasn't kept her informed in the renovation process.

"I would like a time frame, a date or something, when we can get back in, but they never give us a time,” she said. “They just say they will do it as soon as they can. “It's frustrating not to know when you're going to be able to move back."

A spokesperson from the building's manager, Croix Management of Taylors Falls says construction must be complete by June of 2013.

The company is in the process of getting state disaster relief funding and Small Business Administration loans to help fund the construction.

"It would be nice to have a letter explaining in depth, what their actions are, and when we can expect some positive results," Craig Weske, Delores’s son said.

Construction workers are focused on insulating, sheet rocking, mudding, and sanding, but with all the tenants' furnishing still in the apartments, it's a slow process.

"We don't want to keep moving stuff around, in fear we will break something,” Will Bartusch of Wild River Construction said. “We'd rather make smaller pieces, [of sheet rock] and go up and over. We have more mudding to do that way, buts there is less a likelihood of breaking something."

Despite the construction, some Parkside tenants still meet each day in the commons room to socialize. They offered Delores kind words and support.

"Just hang in there, and eventually she'll get back here," Pat Lawrence, a second floor tenant said.

"We are moving as fast as we can,” Bartusch said. “I know some tenants, I mean if I was a tenant, I'd be going, 'You're not moving very fast,' but, we are doing our best.

As construction workers fix the building up, they are also making it more accessible for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Jennifer Walch
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