Crime-ridden apartment complex under new management

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - A Paragould apartment complex that is known for illegal activity and drug raids is now under new management.

The Franklin Apartment Complex, formerly owned by Joseph and Vickie Watkins, is about to go through a series of renovations.

Neighboring residents, who said the Watkins let the complex go downhill, say they're happy change is coming.

"All I can say is yay! We are so happy," Nyandra and Jason Cook said. The two live near the apartment complex.

"When I was helping my mother clean this house, there was a raid like every other day, it had gotten that bad," Nyandra said.

On Monday, Divine Holding closed on the property.

"I believe the property had been certified by the state for non-payment of taxes and another tax year was coming up on Monday, so I think those factors spurred the owners into doing something about it," said a representative for the company. The representative did not wish to be named.

For the most part, the complex is empty due to the work of the Greene County Sheriff's Department.

"We were constantly being called for help in that area," said Sheriff David Carter. "It was mostly drug-related but It would be just the constant traffic. The in and out the two minute and three-minute visits. Plus, there's no telling how many fight calls that the city and county responded to. It was just chaotic."

Though there were many vacant units due to the drug raids, some people still lived in the apartments.

"The owners had got down to where there were just a few living there without electricity or water because the utilities had been cut off," said the representative.

A deed states Divine Holding purchased the 42-unit apartment complex for $161,500.

"It happened so fast," said the representative. "We made the deal a week ago from Monday and this Monday was when we closed on the property."

Divine Holding is made up of four people from Paragould. They said they're ready to refurbish the complex for better renters in the future.

"First thing we are focusing on is to get the doors and windows replaced and get the property secured to stop the squatting and drug problem," said the representative.

Carter said he is beyond happy about this deal.

"It will be great for safety because that would be one less place we will have to look at because it was taking a lot of our time," Carter said.

The Cooks are just as pleased.

"When folks are here yelling obscenities day and night, my kids can't even play outside," said Jason. "This is going to be great for our kids now and maybe we can get more families moving over with kids that we won't be afraid to let our kids play with," said Nyandra.

The representative for Divine Holding added that the renovation of the complex will also make property values go up in the neighborhood.

"We are excited to be able to turn this around and help that part of town," the representative said. "It won't be a quick turn around because It is in bad condition but we will be able to get that taken care of."

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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