Problems for Urbana apartments continue even as flooding subsides

The flood waters at Settler’s Ridge Apartments may have subsided — but now people who live in the complex want answers about the next steps.

Roxanne Gillenwater said she nearly lost everything two weeks ago when the flooding overtook her apartment. Her apartment has since been condemned by Champaign County’s Board of Health.

Last week, Gillenwater took several pictures of what appears to be tennis ball-sized black mold spores that have surfaced in several rooms in her apartment, including where her children slept.

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Gillenwater has since turned in her keys and moved in with her boyfriend, but that hasn’t been an easy transition.

“He’s got four kids — so yeah, we’re crowded. Seven kids, two adults in a three bedroom,” she said.

Gillenwater said it’s been a frustrating situation. She feels like the City of Urbana and Settler’s Ridge ownership are pointing the fingers at each other.

“Somebody needs to take the blame because a lot of families are getting hurt,” she said.

City of Urbana Engineer Tyler Bumbalough said a solution should come from the property’s ownership.

“It’s just unfortunate that renters here have to deal with this — some of them repeatedly,” he said.

The Settler’s Ridge leasing office wasn’t open on Tuesday to respond to calls for comment and have previously declined to do so..

At a meeting last week between the ownership, the city, the health department and the EMA — Bumbalough said the city’s role was to give facts about the site and its drainage issues to everyone in attendance.

He said just in the last 18 months, he could think of three occasions where residents had problems with flooding and standing water. A lot of the water is caused by runoff from a nearby farm field, he said.

Bumbalough said Settler’s Ridge ownership suggested at the meeting that they would hire their own engineer to look for solutions to the consistent flooding problem.

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Two weeks ago, eight units at the apartment complex were condemned, but that number has decreased to two units.

On Tuesday, there was ripped up carpet, heating vents and shutters outside of the front door of one of the condemned units.

Bumbalough said the city does have a project in the works that’s close to two years down the road that would help — but not solve — some of the flooding problems at Settler’s Ridge, but the city doesn’t have the money for that project right now.

“I don’t want the public to get the perception that the city isn’t doing anything,” he said.

But Gillenwater said the latest flooding experience was the last straw and she’d never go back to the apartment complex again.

“Nor would I want anyone else to bring their family or any of their things inside there,” she said.

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