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Council Approves Fee for Condo Repairs

Residents at Greensboro Square spar over the cost and need for renovations.

Greensboro Square Condominium and Townhome residents delivered a simple message Monday night to the St. Louis Park City Council: Let's take care of the problem now.

The 260-unit complex, built in 1970, needs a wide array of repairs, from replacing curbs and gutters to renovating garages, so members of the condominium association petitioned the city to establish a Housing Improvement Area. This allows the council to bond for the money, while residents have up to 20 years to pay their share back.

By a 5-0 vote, council passed the measure on a first reading. Councilwoman Julia Ross abstained because she lives in the condo, though she acknowledged she supports the petition. The issue will be up for a second and final vote at a Dec. 5 council meeting.

Greensboro residents acknowledged there is no easy solution when it comes to spending money—44 percent of residents there didn't sign the petition—but those who addressed the council Monday generally voiced support.

"I moved here in 2008 and, like anyone who moved in 2008, I'm under water," said resident Andrew Anderson. "But even with that situation, this is still the best option we have."

Residents opposed to the measure are worried about the price tag and don't believe the repairs are necessary. The project is expected to cost $3.8 million, which will amount to an average monthly cost of $113 per resident over 20 years.

Worried about her own ability to pay, Sophia Starinets said she was more concerned about her son, who just bought a place in the same complex.

"It's hard to say what the market will be in 10 years," she said.

Others, though, said residents couldn't afford to wait. Without the city's support, along with the 20-year repayment term, some said expenses for repairs would be out of reach.

"If they can guarantee I'll be here in 20 years (to pay it off), I'm in favor of this," Paul Swerdlick, 84, said to a room full of laughs.

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