St. John Tower Update: Rumors Addressed, But Residents Still Want Guarantees

The “press conference” held at the Bennett Smith Family Life Center  to dispel any rumors and hear the concerns of residents, turned into a near shouting match at  the end. At the close of the   session, which lasted a little  over an hour,  it was  clear that transparency between    the Tower’s owners,   the new  management ( Capital Realty), and   tenants,  was a  major issue.  Residents felt they were being kept in the dark about what was going on, which fueled some of the rumors (i.e.  The Towers had been sold and are being turned into luxury apartments  and tenants would be displaced).

The fact that   representatives from the  management company were not present  only raised  residents suspicions and outrage.  One tenant questioned why  Rev.Michael Chapman,   the pastor of St. John, was not

QUESTIONS: St. John Tower residents questioned the Board of Directors at Monday’s press conference.

present. Another accused the three  members of  being less than truthful although they appeared to be doing  their best to answer questions.  The  Board Chairman Mr. Lewis assured that “at no point will we lose ownership of St. John towers.” He also vowed  that St. John would remained true to its original vision  as “a place to house our seniors.   A series of meetings  between tenants and management are being panned and “St. John Tower will remain affordable and no tenant displaced”   before or after the renovations, which will be  taking place  over the next 12 months.  The board members also promised to address tenants concerns of insensitivity  and of being snubbed by the new management team.  One tenant  described  Capital as “sowing seeds of dissension and chaos” at the Towers. Some immediate concerns included a  broken intercom system, and lack of security in the building. Those issues the board members  said, would  also be quickly addressed. “Residents are afraid  because they don’t know what’s going on,” declared  Lynnette Joyner  Tenant Council President. ” They don’t know what’s going to happen to them.”  Tenants want everything made plain   in writing for their own peace of mind. More transparency will go a long way to keep the rumors in check. Meanwhile  residents  will remain vigilant to ensure  that St.  John Towers remains, as Rev. B.W.  Smith envisioned decades ago, “the last place between here and Glory” for our seniors.