Water service finally restored at Idlewild Inn

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UPDATE:
Water service has been restored to Idlewild Inn after the City of Rapid City received payment for past-due water bills. Service was returned to the tenants at 1:30 p.m. Monday. 


UPDATE:

The City of Rapid City has shut off water service to Idlewild Inn, affecting 13 units. City officials said Gerald Henning made payments on two of the three Idlewild buildings. He owes more than $2,500 on the building where water service was terminated.

"The City has been forced into this action due to the continued non-compliance of Mr. Henning," said Mayor Steve Allender.  "It is unfortunate that some of the tenants are forced to go without water service but it is at the hand of Mr. Henning and his continued disregard of his obligations in the matter."


RAPID CITY, S.D. - City officials continue their legal battle with the owner of the Idlewild Inn here in Rapid City.

Owner Gerald Henning, a resident of Milwaukie, Oregon, owes nearly $4,000 in overdue water bills. But residents say that's just a small issue at the apartment complex.

"And right now with the tenants, of course they're upset. It's gonna happen. But I have a belief that let the upper ups take care of it," said Aaron Pope, an Idlewild resident.

Idlewild tenants have been through this before. In March, the city shut off the building’s water for five days. Now, the city is threatening to turn off Idlewild's water by Friday, and Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender has had enough of the owner's late water payments.

"I mean, if he lived in town, I'd shut off the water at his house just to make a point. And let him sue us, but I can't do that when he lives in Oregon," Allender said in a phone interview Tuesday.

NewsCenter1 visited the complex to hear from residents about the ongoing water situation. Though most tenants refused to appear on camera, one tenant opened the door for us to come in and see what she called "an unlivable situation.” Bed bugs were crawling on a mattress, while roaches ran across the floor and in the sink.

"That apartment building is filthy. The apartment building is rundown. I think it's some kind of a sick relationship between a slumlord and a slum tenant," Allender said.

So residents live in those conditions for what Mayor Allender estimated monthly rent to be right at market value— around $600 per month.

"They're the victims here, I'm well aware of that. And I hope they find a different place to stay," Allender said.

Mayor Allender said he hopes some of the residents simply do not pay their rent and force Henning to sell the property. He also pointed out that some form of housing regulations could prevent these issues from happening again.

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