Deadline passes for Columbus’ Ralston Towers improvements

Deadline passes for Columbus’ Ralston Towers improvements

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The deadline has come and gone for the century-old building on 12th Street, known as The Ralston, to make much-needed improvements.

It was tough talk back in August when Representatives Drew Ferguson and Sanford Bishop joined city leaders for a tour of the residential property. They insisted on action and after spending the day trying to get an update, residents are still waiting.

“I think possibly the best-case scenario would be, although it’d be disruptive, would be for them to not get that passing rate," Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson said Wednesday via phone. "Cancel the contract and get these folks in some housing where they feel like they’ve got a home.”

Back in August, residents had plenty to tell the mayor and visiting congressmen about their experiences living at the property.

“One time sitting in my room, and you could just hear a big ole heard of rats,” said Lurshionda Sexton.

“I would like a judge to tell the owners of this place they’ve got to live here a month with no car, no transportation, see how they like it. What they think about it then,” Chris Lowe added.

Ferguson and bishop toured the 1914 building alongside Henderson in August, just days after HUD gave the Ralston’s New Jersey-based management official notice to make the apartment building “safe, sanitary, and decent.”

“This is a challenge to us and we want to do everything we can possibly do to protect the residents here,” said Bishop.

“And it’s not something you would want your family to live in,” Ferguson added. "We shouldn’t ask our fellow Americans to live there either.”

With the deadline behind us, News Leader 9 is still waiting to see if the congressmen will return to Columbus and follow up with residents.

The person who answered WTVM’s call at the Ralston could not tell if HUD has scheduled a follow-up inspection.

“It’s my understanding, they have to contract with a company and schedule that, and it can normally take anywhere from a week, to two, to three weeks to try to get that inspection done,” Henderson said.

HUD’s most recent records show the Ralston received a 42 on its July inspection. Management will need to bring the building up

News Leader 9 will keep you updated on air and online.

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