Troubled Valley Heights Apartments in Little Rock Try New Lease on Life

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Oct. 28, 2013 12:00 am  

But Remmel said ultimately Henry didn’t address the root cause of the problem: the apartments’ long history of harboring a criminal element.

“When I was young, I remember those apartments under the name of English Village,” Remmel said. “I actually had siblings who lived there at that time, and it was a very nice apartment complex back then.”

But by 2010, it was a different story. Rocks thrown at houses. Gunfire. Sirens at all hours.

“There were many instances, anecdotal and recorded, of petty theft in the neighborhood,” Remmel said. “The perpetrators would sneak back through the fence line into the Valley Heights complex. That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that they were tenants there, but that was kind of a conduit for that kind of activity.”

Remmel said he’d watched “kids” from the apartments kick down the privacy fence separating the apartments from Kingwood, steal small items from Kingwood homes and run back through the fence.

“I’ve witnessed young children playing in the pool area, unattended, when the pool was closed,” he said. “I live close enough to where I could hear adults screaming and cursing out at the pool.”

Part of the issue, it seemed, was that Henry had started accepting more Section 8 vouchers. The property had previously allowed low-income tenants whose rent was subsidized by the federal Section 8 program, but the increased number of them also seemed to come with increased crime.

“And there was such a high density of Section 8 housing right in that one complex,” Remmel said. “That was the issue.”

Henry had offered the neighborhood association some good suggestions for improvement, Remmel said. Unfortunately, they didn’t come to fruition.

“But by the time all of them jelled, he was, I think, approaching bankruptcy,” Remmel said. “A lot of the changes just were not feasible, financially, for him.”

The Crash

Henry Corp. was indeed approaching terminal failure. Problems for the company were starting to manifest as early as July 2010, when Henry revealed to the Kingwood Neighborhood Association that he had fired the manager of the Valley Heights apartments for violating rent collection policies and failing to forward the neighborhood complaints to the proper staff managers.



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