St. Catherine's tenants circulate petition to keep apartments open
Tenants of St. Catherine's Apartments, the former hospital-turned-rental property that will close by Feb. 1, are requesting the owner work with them to keep the facility open.
Jane Ruth Johnson, who has lived at St. Catherine's since 1999, has written and is circulating among residents a petition that recognizes St. Catherine's vital role in providing "non-discriminatory" and "adequate, reasonable rental properties" for the McCook community.
Johnson said the goal of the petition is to implore owner Jerry Romanoff of Newark, N.J., to keep the apartment complex open.
Johnson is frightened by the prospect of 22 households needing to find new homes when McCook's rental property inventory is low or extremely tight for families, low income, federally-subsidized housing, mentally/physically disabled, smokers or those with pets. Twenty-two of St. Cat's 46 units are rented.
Tenants received notice Monday, Nov. 30, that Romanoff intends to close the complex by Feb. 1, due to financial challenges associated with keeping the 86-year-old four-story red brick structure safe and operating efficiently for the past 10 years. "I don't know of any other owner who would have tried harder or as long to keep the apartments open," said Val Kircher, who with her husband Mike manage the apartments through their business Coldwell Banker Kircher and Associates Realty of McCook.
Johnson said she has faxed the petition to Romanoff. Val Kircher said this morning she acknowledges receipt of the petition.
The Kirchers and their staff are working with residents to find alternative living arrangements, as is Barb Ostrum, coordinator of the McCook office of Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska.