EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Evansville NAACP President Reverend Gerald Arnold said more needs to be done right now to help the residents of Woodland Park Apartments.
The complex has been the subject of multiple controversies in recent months. In July, CenterPoint Energy threatened to turn off power at the complex if managers did not catch up on utility payments.
Eventually, Woodland Park made a payment on the past due bills, but many problems still remain.
Reverend Arnold said there’s been a lack of affordable housing in the area for years and now it’s finally being addressed.
According to Evansville City City Councilor Alex Burton, U.S. Immigration And Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been contacted because there have been reports of “management” working who do not have the proper documentation to be working in the country.
Reverend Arnold says he’d like to see Woodland Park get torn down and start another model.
“Tear it down, build a better model,” Reverend Arnold said. “We are supposed to be uplifting the quality of life for people, this no longer works. I don’t know how many of these are boarded up, we don’t know how many crimes have taken place out here on this ground.”
Reverend Arnold said the name of the complex has been changed about two or three times since 1988. “So it needs to come down and we need to build something that enhances and builds up the quality of life for people,” he said.
“Initially this was a good idea for a lot of folk and it did help some people but also as it festered over time it created another atmosphere, another element, that we can just not tolerate,” Reverend Arnold said. Late last month, representatives from Woodland Park told the Evansville City Council that COVID-19, residents and the negative media attention caused many of the complex’s issues.