Action Report: Rotting columns a concern at Lexington Park Apartments

Published: Jan. 21, 2016 at 8:53 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2016 at 10:54 AM CST
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ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - The Lexington Park Apartments on Tucker Road were built in 2009 with state money earmarked to meet the post-Katrina housing need. Less than seven years later, repairs are underway and residents are worried.

This is why some residents at Lexington Park Apartments fear for their safety. The exterior columns on this apartment are crumbling. They're columns that support the balconies of this three-story building.

The contractor now working on repairs said water damage and carpenter ants have destroyed the wood.

Some residents, who are worried about their safety, didn't want their faces shown but want their neighbors to know about the problem.

"It all started in August when my neighbor found a rotten column," said one resident.

He said he notified the management in September, but repair work didn't begin until January.

"They started Jan. 4, and they took 11 days to come back and do a little more, "said the resident. "They're just dragging their feet with the repair work."

It's easy to see bricks around the columns are breaking away, exposing the rotten wood.

Temporary support beams are now in place to hold up the second and third floor balconies on one building.  The apartment manager told me a few residents received letters last week about the balconies.

" are not to be out on your balcony for any reason while under construction. The front office will let you know when everything is complete," the letters warned.

Another resident said he didn't get a letter, but his balcony is damaged.

"You've got all these people who live here, and there are children who go out on the balconies," he said. "I'm not ever feeling safe sitting out there, just because I'm afraid it will collapse down on me."

After we began asking questions, Jackson County Building Official and Assistant Planning Director Marcus Catchot sent an inspector to Lexington Park. Catchot also contacted the developer and contractor who built the complex about what his inspectors discovered.

"They informed him that there were a few balconies that need to be replaced, and talking to the contractor, it looks like there's going to be more than a few, "Catchot said. "There's going to be several."

The county also sent inspectors to Bridgewater Park Apartments, a complex just down the street that was built by the same developer.

I spoke to the contractor, Clyde Ferguson, who told me a total of 24 balconies at the two complexes show signs of possible wood and water damage.  He said inspections are underway, and repairs will be done as quickly as possible.

I also learned that the work at the Lexington Park Apartments began without proper permits. Catchot said the contractor wanted to repair the columns as quickly as possible and didn't pull the permit.

Catchot said the permits were issued Thursday, and the primary concern is getting the balconies repaired for the safety of the residents.

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