Viña Tenants Bring Concerns to Councilman Watson

By Kathryn White

A half-dozen residents from the Viña Apartments tenants union met with City Council Member Darrell Watson Nov. 9 to gauge his interest in helping them advocate for improvements at the Elyria-based apartment complex. In the meeting facilitated by Alfonso Espino, a community organizer for the GES Coalition, Viña residents described concerns they have with Syringa Property Management, which took over management of the property earlier this year, and with the building’s owner, Columbia Ventures.

Resident concerns included what they described as a lack of timely repairs to the building’s front door and accessibility mechanism; an unacceptable distance between the building entrance and designated accessible parking across the street; tenant ledgers that are impossible to interpret; and a format for utility bills that does not include the details required by organizations that provide financial assistance for utility costs.

Viña Apartments at 2121 E. 48th Ave. Jessica Neckien, member of the tenants union, hopes for closer proximity for accessible parking. Photo by Kathryn White
Accessible parking for Viña Apartments is currently across the street from the building. Pavement in the lot becomes icy during winter months. Photo by Kathryn White

Utility billing has been a source of tenant frustration for several months running. Viña maintains a master account with Xcel and uses a submetering company called eGauge to track utility usage at the individual apartment level.

Watson, who had just completed 100 days in office, listened, asked questions, took notes and committed to following up.

“After listening to residents at Viña Apartments, I was concerned with what I heard. I look forward to making sure management is responsive to residents’ questions and concerns so Viña is a safe place for folks to live,” Watson said.

Since the tenants union was formed over the summer, residents and management have met monthly to discuss resident concerns. And still, said resident Jessica Neckien, the front door took nearly eight months of incremental repairs to be fully operational.

Residents received notice Nov. 28 that a new third-party utility billing service, Conservice, has been hired.


  1. The parking has been an issue since the health clinic has opened. On top of that there is no reasonable handicap parking!!!! The lot that is supposed to be secure! IS NOT!!! The gate never worked on the west side and there is a opening on the east side that ANYONE can access!!! It’s not serviced for snow and ice and lighting is poor at night.

    • The gate has worked don’t help some residents batch about it bring closed due to not enough time during day to get thier access key 🗝 stick n further more lighting is dam good compared to what it use to be in the parking lot n further more and as one of the tenants Jessica bitcg about every just to complain n n the door took so long because it constantly got fixed n vandalized again and again
      N since the new management company took over its amazing how thing are so much better here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.