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Quarantine delays elevator upgrade at Superior apartments

Thanksgiving meals will be provided to residents.

Residents sit outside the Clifford L. Lund Apartment on Tower Avenue in Superior in 2018. Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

Residents in Superior’s Clifford Lund Apartments expected to have a working elevator by Friday, Nov. 12. It was the latest in a string of dates they’d been given since the elevator was shut down Sept. 7 for a planned upgrade.

On Wednesday, Nov. 10, they received a new update: The elevator would not be operational again until Dec. 3. COVID-19 was listed as the reason for the delay.

“Now we're going into Thanksgiving. These people in this building will have nothing to be thankful for,” said Lori Rabbitt, who lives on the second floor.

The 91-unit building, which provides affordable housing for low-income seniors age 62 and older and people with disabilities over age 18, has a single elevator. Rabbitt wondered how any of the residents would be able to get out to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for the annual community Thanksgiving meal.

The building is owned by the Wisconsin Housing Preservation Corporation and managed by the Middleton-based Meridian Group. The elevator upgrade had been planned and was initially expected to take about three weeks.


PREVIOUSLY: Offline elevator sparks concerns at Superior apartment building A planned upgrade, expected to take three weeks, has been extended to Nov. 1.

The newest update moved the completion date to Dec. 3. Rodney Tapp, president of Meridian Group, said the timeline was extended after the installation crew that was planning to install the hydraulic jack was quarantined due to COVID-19 protocols.

Tapp said management staff have been available to help residents during the elevator shutdown, and he was not aware of anyone being turned away. Flyers updating residents on the elevator timeline extensions have included a line encouraging them to contact the office if they need assistance. An update post Oct. 25 also included contact information for a volunteer group available to help carry groceries for residents.

“We have not had many residents request the assistance offered,” Tapp said. “We are aware that many residents made arrangements due to the extensive prior notice given for the modernization.”

During a 2012 elevator shutdown at the Regina Hill apartments in Superior, mechanical stair lifts were installed. Tapp said planners discussed doing that at Clifford Lund, but it was not a viable option due to the narrow stairways. Chairs have been set up in each stairwell for people to sit and rest, he said, and local emergency service providers were made aware of the shutdown.

The management company will be delivering prepared Thanksgiving meals to residents Nov. 20, Tapp said. They understand the shuttered elevator is an inconvenience, he said, but they are pleased to work with an owner that is investing in the property.

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