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Stairwell issue continues at taxpayer-funded apartment complex

RICHMOND, Va. -- A month ago Chrystal Miller's boyfriend shared photos of a staircase in her Richmond apartment complex.

"The stairwell up there is completely gone," Miller said. "I thought they were supposed to be fixed by August 31st.  They had a deadline."

Back in October, Miller originally talked to the CBS6 Problem Solvers about what she and others called the dangerous condition of the stairs at Woodland Crossing.

"If you look right here you can see where it's breaking apart," Miller told us back then.

The Section 8 housing complex is managed by PK Management, the company that used to oversee the troubled Essex Village complex in Henrico.

After a woman slipped and fell on the stairs back in July, a city inspector visited Woodland Crossing and found the property to be "unsafe for the stairways to every building within the apartment complex due to collapsing stairs and possibility of further collapse that could cause further damage or death of persons."

The city told PK Management to fix the stairs by the end of August or threatened the complex could be condemned.

When we visited in October, all the stairs appeared to be open and in working order, although Miller and others still felt they needed repairs.

"To me, they're not properly fixing them correctly, like they should be for safety issues," Miller said.

So when she and her boyfriend found the staircase in building 3453 shut down in late November, they immediately became concerned and contacted the Problem Solvers.

"It was not corrected," Miller said.

We took a look ourselves, but a man who did not identify himself to us asked us to leave and told us the area was not safe.

"What do you need to check out the steps for?  You can't be on the property like this," the man said. "It's not safe for you over here so I don't want you to get hurt."

We were able to see the staircase boarded up with one section of the stairs lying on the ground covered in rust with a hole in one of the stairs.

We pulled the engineering report for the stairs prepared back in August, and it shows the staircases in that building had cracks in the landings and rust on risers and beams.

The engineers suggested maintenance personnel monitor the area, and if the support is further compromised the stairs and landing should be replaced.

We asked PK Management about the work, and the president told us they closed down the staircase to do preventative maintenance on just the landing between the first and second floors.

The CBS 6 Problem Solvers called the city, and asked them to take a look.

City officials said the complex remains in compliance, and they said PK Management had to submit a plan of correction for the stairs by August 31, but they didn't have to have them all fixed by that date.

But, Miller said she and other residents wonder why the stairs at the complex, which receives 1.4 million taxpayer dollars annually from HUD to subsidize residents' rent still appear to have problems.

"I would like to see the stairwells fixed to where they're safe and correctly fixed not halfway fixed," Miller said.

The city told us PK Management has a permit to fix the stairs in the complex, but after recalled them out to visit, the city found that the complex needs to expand the scope of their permit to continue their work.