Fairmont apartments residents meet, discuss problems and progress
BY JERRY WOFFORD World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 09, 2013
2/09/13 at 7:29 AM
Get complete coverage: Read about the Fairmont Terrace quadruple homicide and the
Tulsa World’s investigation of the area.
People packed into the small community building at Fairmont Terrace on Friday afternoon to get their pressing questions answered.
Several concerns had to do with security at the apartment complex, but most people wanted to know about pets or maintenance or what they could do to get a real community center in the area, a place for their kids and teens to go and stay out of trouble.
It was about four times the number who turned out for the last meeting. Residents said the community involvement showed that despite what people may think about the complex, the majority of people there are doing their best to live good lives.
"It's got some bad press lately," resident Sharon Parks said about her community. "It's because of a few bad apples here."
Misty Nunley, 33; Julie Jackson, 55; Rebeika Powell, 23; and Kayetie Powell Melchor, 23, were each tied up and shot in the head in an apartment at Fairmont Terrace, in the 5800 block of South Owasso Avenue, on Jan. 7.
Police announced this week that after an extensive investigation, they had arrested brothers James Stanford Poore, 32, and Cedric Dwayne Poore, 39, on four complaints each of first-degree murder. They had not been charged as of Friday afternoon.
Court records indicate that drugs might have played a part in the killings. A search warrant filed last month states that Powell and Melchor "were involved in the use and distribution of methamphetamine and marijuana."
Police said the Poore brothers lived in the apartment complex, but apartment manager Angela McGinnis said they were not official residents.
"Our policy is you can only have a guest for 14 days and you have to fill out a guest form," McGinnis said. "We make copies of IDs and do background checks. That was not done in this case, and we were not aware that they were here."
Fairmont Terrace conducts background checks on all residents and does not allow people with felony records - which the brothers have - to lease apartments, she said.
Security at the complex has been tripled since January, McGinnis said. Starting Monday, additional security officers will solely patrol the grounds and the fence around the complex, something residents say will help cut down on unwanted guests.
Anyone who goes onto the property now has to go through the front gate to have his or her ID scanned and checked against a list of more than 4,000 people who are banned from the property, she said.
Since the deaths in January, city leaders have called for changes in how out-of-state owners of apartment complexes are held accountable for their properties. City leaders have also said the city needs to take a stronger approach to law enforcement in the area and encourage community involvement.
The state recently approved tax-exempt financing for Midwest Development Partners LLC of Joplin, Mo., to purchase the Fairmont Terrace apartments. The property is currently owned by two limited liability cooperations in California.
Representatives with Midwest Development said they plan to conduct surveys to determine the needs of the community and complete a large overhaul and renovation of the complex.
Resident Rochelle Remesar said she didn't know much about the new owners, who have yet to finalize the sale, but she said security should remain a top priority.
"I hope they would" keep security up, she said. "We need safety. We need security."
The added security gives the residents better peace of mind, but several said they aren't concerned about living there.
"We were never scared to begin with," Parks said.
Other questions ranged from whether the complex could stop young, single women from living there - they can't because that's illegal discrimination, McGinnis said - to whether the apartment's pet policy could be changed. Some people praised McGinnis and other apartment staff members.
The apartment just completed a Housing and Urban Development Real Estate Assessment Center inspection and scored in the top tier, at 80 percent, McGinnis said. It was an exciting announcement and one that showed that while the complex has improved, work is still left to do.
"We're going to have to make adjustments as we go," McGinnis said about security.
After she fielded the questions, residents broke out the dominoes and board games for family game night.
Kids ran around tables and folding chairs, often getting stern warnings to behave from the adults. They snacked on cookies and popcorn as they played with fire trucks and Candy Land.
It's good to have those activities there, but a dedicated community center is what they really want, the residents said.
Parks said she has heard a lot of talk from city leaders about what they want to do for the community, but so far it's been just talk and not much listening, she said.
"The community center - that's what we need," Parks said. "Either you care about the community or you don't. Get it right."
Original Print Headline: Problems and progress
Jerry Wofford 918-581-8310
Tracy Warren, a manager with Tulsa City-County Library, gives out free material during a community meeting at the Fairmont Terrace apartment offices on Friday. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Sharon Parks, a Fairmont Terrace resident, asks a question during a community meeting at the apartment complex Friday. Parks said she has never been afraid to live there and that "a few bad apples" have led to recent bad publicity for the complex. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World
Eight-year-olds Kortez Kelly (left) and Gary Fultz look for other children to play a board game during family game night at Fairmont Terrace on Friday. JOHN CLANTON/Tulsa World