Park Jefferson 'unfit for human habitation'

PLYMOUTH — The last few remaining residents of the more than 50 Park Jefferson Apartments on Jefferson Street in Plymouth should have already moved out or are in the process of vacating.
The Marshall County Health Department officially declared the property “unfit for human habitation” and gave a resident in building #2 until last Sunday to vacate.
According to Jerry Fussell of the Health Department, the only units still habitable as of last week were in building #1. Fussell said it was the only building that still had water and sewage services. By all accounts, there was only one resident still living in the building.
Fussell said, “Its unusual circumstances for multi-family housing.”
Fussell said the various city and county departments worked together to bring about the closing order.
Several of the buildings have bright orange signs on them.
Although residents of the apartments paid their water and sewer bills as a part of the monthly rental fees, the city utility bills were not being paid, forcing most of the residents to move out over the last several months when services were turned off.
The Park Jefferson Apartments are listed in the county records as belonging to Marjorie Marshall (now deceased) of Elkhart. At this point, Plymouth and Marshall County officials are corresponding with a South Bend attorney who is handling the estate of Marshall.
Plymouth Building Commissioner Keith Hammonds said he sent a notice Jan. 25 to the attorney overseeing the estate to board up all of the unoccupied units. According to Hammonds, they have 60 days from the date of the letter to comply. Several of the units have already been vandalized and copper plumbing pipes removed.
Hammonds said it could take up to two or more years to declare the property condemned. At this point, the city has not had any response from the attorney.
Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter said, “The sad part is that people who own these buildings don’t live in Plymouth. They don’t go by everyday to see it.”
Park Jefferson is just one of the city properties that Senter has identified in his “Operation Bright Spot” list that the City has targeted as “eyesores” or “unsafe/nuisances” and is in the process of contacting owners for further action.