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Common Areas At Skyline Apartments Once Again Declared Unfit For Occupancy

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WAER file photo
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The City of Syracuse is once again declaring common areas of the Skyline apartment building unfit for human occupancy after mayor Ben Walsh paid a visit Thursday.

"That is due largely to the unsanitary conditions in the stairwells. Unacceptable. Urine, blood, traces of feces...conditions no one deserves to live near or around. We have, amazingly, an elevator out of operation, again."

The city had lifted the first unfit declaration in mid-May when owner Green National had fixed the chronically broken elevators and made other improvements to the 12-story building. But Walsh says it seems they’re going backwards and are not living up to their responsibilities. He says his administration will be notifying the county, which will once again stop rent payments.

"Frankly, I think that's the only reason we got action because it hit them in the wallet. That's what we're going to do again. While we were hoping they were working in good faith, based on what I observed, it does not appear to be the case. We're going to continue to hold them accountable."

Walsh says there was one positive sign: two security guards were on duty during his visit, but he knows from tenants that’s not consistently the case. Police Chief Kenton Buckner says two officers are on duty for six hours two days a week to supplement security, but it’s not enough. They’re still responding to nuisance calls for disorderly conduct and loitering.

"Those are the kinds of things that you have in areas that are quite frankly out of control. We have seen a small decrease after a recent spike, so that's encouraging. But by no means are they in compliance at the level that we want to see, nor what the residents there expect."

Green Skyline has not responded to a contract for additional SPD patrols, which are being paid for by the owner. The property remains under a nuisance abatement order until next June, which mandates on-site security, cracks down on trespassers, and requires reporting of complaints and safety incidents by Skyline managers to the owners. Meanwhile, the city is considering its options, including receivership for the property, which Mayor Walsh says is a daunting possibility. They also remain open to a new buyer for the 365-unit complex.