published Sunday, June 2nd, 2013, updated June 2nd, 2013 at 6:59 p.m.

Patten Towers residents should be moved to hotels Monday

Residents of Patten Towers receive food from Salvation Army workers outside the Brainerd Recreation Complex on Saturday.
Residents of Patten Towers receive food from Salvation Army workers outside the Brainerd Recreation Complex on Saturday.
Photo by C. B. Schmelter.
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Should Patten Towers be closed?

Displaced Patten Towers residents sheltering at the Brainerd Recreation Complex will be moved into hotels Monday, the Chattanooga mayor’s office says in a news release.

Mayor Andy Berke also is chastising the Towers’ owner, PK Management of Greeneville, S.C., for a lagging response to the crisis that forced 241 people from their homes five days ago.

Berke spokeswoman Lacie Stone said in an email that the residents will be relocated to hotels while the city and the building owners look for longer-term housing.

The residents were evacuated after an electrical fire in the basement Tuesday and those who didn’t lodge with friends or family were sheltered at the Brainerd complex.

However, Berke said in a letter to PK Management chief Bob Kriensky today that “the Red Cross and other organizations have advised us the shelter is only meant to be temporary and must be closed as soon as possible.”

Berke also wrote of his “extreme disappointment” that PK staff in Chattanooga say only higher-ups can make decisions about getting the residents moved. The letter noted that it followed a conference call Sunday morning.

“I find it deplorable and unacceptable that we are still waiting on executives from PK Management to arrive on the scene this many days after the incident occurred,” Berke wrote.

See complete coverage in Monday’s Times Free Press.

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