Coralville should be proud of its civic self for completing a second Coral Ridge — Coral Ridge Senior Apartments. This is an affordable, 56-unit complex where prospective tenants must verify their age (“55 and better”) and income. Like other newly-built complexes, it has many amenities — underground parking, in-unit laundries, and even raised garden plots to save elderly knees.
“On-site professional maintenance and management,” however, as claimed in announcements, is definitely missing. The manager lives in Cedar Rapids, has daytime obligations and is rarely available, even by phone. To reach him, tenants have been given a 90-character email address for relaying their needs or complaints. But many seniors do not have computers or smartphones and older people may especially need immediate help with problems requiring strength or unfamiliar skills to solve.
As a member of the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition, I have seen the frustrating efforts required of a prospective tenant just to make adequate contact with management for applying, being shown and signing an apartment lease. Anyone with limited English, for instance, would undoubtedly have given up.
We urge the Coralville City Council to demand the creators and managers of this, and any other such facilities, fulfill requirements established by the city for proper management of the sites and the reasonable convenience of any special populations that occupy them. Council must do so as rigorously as they do for construction safety standards. To do less risks turning affordable into deplorable.
Polly Nichols Marshall