Vacancy: Rotary Village

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Atmore Rotary Village is in a bit of a financial crunch.
Currently the low-income apartment complex has six vacancies, which over the past three months has caused a cash flow issue when it comes time to pay the monthly mortgage payment.
"We're in a financial crunch," apartment manager I.G. Nichols said Tuesday morning. "We've got too many vacant apartments, so we're not getting any income off them. We've got a cash flow issue. It's getting harder to pay the monthly payment."
Rotary Village, which was built in 1984 as a project for the Atmore Rotary Club, is operated by Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is considered Section 8 housing. All rent payments are based on residents' income.
"We are for the aged, handicapped and disabled," Nichols said. "Sixty-two is the age limit for living here, but there are a lot of residents that live here that are younger than 62, that are handicapped or disabled."
According to longtime Atmore Rotary Club member and past president, Dennis Bilbo, the payment on the facility runs just under $10,000 minus expenses. Since the vacancies, he said several expenses such as minor maintenance and supplies have been cut to make up the difference.
Bilbo also said when the 40-unit apartment complex, located at 201 East Ridgeley Street behind Atmore City Hall, was built it was intended to operate at full capacity or with no less than two vacancies.
"The vacancies just cut our income down and makes it hard to operate," Nichols said.
A letter sent to Bilbo from Gordon Napper, president of Gulf Belt Properties, which serves as property manager for Rotary Village stated that the recent vacancies have caused a "financial nightmare". In order to help officials have sweet dreams, most, if not all, vacancies need to be filled.
Unfortunately, Nichols doesn't have a single application on his desk.
"We have some people that don't meet qualifications," Nichols said. "We don't have any pending at the present time. We've housed all that can be housed. I don't have any applications at the present time."
Rotary Village has a lot to offer its residents, including garbage pick-up and water, which is included in their monthly rent. The complex also provides residents with a stove and refrigerator.
Nichols also said the complex is located in a safe area.
"We lock our lobbies and outer doors at night for security reasons," he said. "We do that for security reasons, but the residents can come and go as they please through their outer door."
The location of Rotary Village is what 13-year resident, Carlie James, likes most about the complex.
"I like the location a lot," she said. "I feel like we're well protected with the police and fire departments across the street. You'll hear no complaints from me."
Residents are also allowed to have their own vehicles.
James also likes the residents she lives near.
"I like my neighbors too," she said. "We all get along real well."
To pick up an application or to learn more about Rotary Village, contact Nichols at 368-5115 between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday.

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