Residents at Heritage Place frustrated with non-working elevator

NOW: Residents at Heritage Place frustrated with non-working elevator

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The community is showing concern for Heritage Place at LaSalle Square in South Bend over a broken elevator.

The four-story senior living complex has just one elevator, but residents said it has been out of order for more than five weeks.

ABC57 received multiple tips from concerned and angered people, saying something needs to be done for the elderly people living on the top floors, many of whom have mobility issues.

“Climbing those stairs everyday is not fun,” said 72-year-old resident Leroy Cobb Jr.

He said it is the third time the elevator has broken down in his two years living at Heritage Place.

“I’m 72 years old, I’m still in fairly good shape, but I fell down those steps about a week and a half ago,” Cobb said, “and there have been other people that have fell down the steps. They reported it to the management here... nothing has been done.”

Another woman said her 92-year-old mother has been stuck in her apartment on the fourth floor for more than 40 days.

However, administration officials from the property management company, Sterling Group, said they have done everything they can to assist residents through these obstacles.

Sterling Group Area Manager Cheryl Anderson said chairs were set up on each stairwell for residents to take a break while climbing, and many have doubled up to help one another up the stairs. Staff has also helped with groceries, Anderson said.

Also, they said they have not gotten any reports of residents falling on the stairs.

Anderson said they are waiting on a part to be delivered, and until then, the matter is out of their hands.

“It’s awful on our end too,” said Tara Smith, assistant vice president of marketing for Sterling Group.

Smith said staff has “exhausted every avenue” to come up with a solution, but ultimately, it all comes down to waiting for the part that is on backorder.

“We’re just telling them, ‘we thank you for your patience, we thank you for understanding during this difficult time,’” Anderson said. “Definitely, it’s our goal to get it back up and running for the residents. And that is something we are working feverishly to achieve.”

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security confirmed to ABC57 that elevator service providers must undergo annual inspections, but the last inspection at Heritage Place was in April 2021. According to a spokesperson for IDHS, the elevator cannot get an operating permit until this inspection is completed. Additionally, the current permit expired at the end of April this year.

Indiana code now prevents the elevators from operating because the annual inspection and certification are out of date.

South Bend Councilman Henry Davis Jr. is sounding the alarm about the elevator issue, and plans to hold a press conference outside the property Monday at 11 a.m.

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