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City celebrates grand opening of new apartment complex despite complaints

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-13 18:49:05-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City of Corpus Christi celebrated the grand opening of Fishpond Living Apartments Wednesday morning after spending five years and spending over $18 million dollars on the project. However, some residents said there was nothing to celebrate.

"I don’t think it's ready for a grand opening yet," resident Valdemar Berlanga Ozuna said.

Ozuna is a disabled senior living at Fishpond Living Apartments. Residents like Ozuna were moved from Sea Gulf Villa Apartments in downtown Corpus Christi to the new affordable housing facility. According to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, affordable housing is any housing that costs a tenant 30% of their income.

Principal of Fishpond Living David Fournier said the new apartment complex is designed for seniors and those with physical disabilities, but Ozuna said some residents require more accommodating features.

"When you’re taking a shower, you have bad ears and when you close your eyes to wash your face, you get disoriented. I have to be holding onto something," Ozuna said.

Ozuna said in his unit, there are no grab bars in the showers. There are also none in the hallways, forcing him and others to be extra careful when going about their day. He also said that after Tropical Storm Harold, he noticed water coming through his air conditioning duct and ceiling fan that he had to clean up himself. Another problem was in rent miscommunication between the city’s housing authority and the apartment landlord.

Tenants thought they were going to have to pay more in rent after being told they weren't, but that problem was fixed before the grand opening. Tenants will still pay 30% of their income and rent will not change.

"There are 112 units. There are things that are going to happen. If you build a new home, you’re going to have things that are going to break that you have to fix. All they have to do is report it and we’ll get it fixed," Fourneir said.

Fourneir said assistance features can be requested and that some maintenance issues have already been fixed.

But even though residents were able to attend meetings to discuss the design before the opening of the new complex, some still don't feel at home.

"I don’t think this place was meant for us. This place is meant for somebody else," Ozuna said.