MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Lawyers for the troubled Peppertree Apartments were back in Environmental Court Tuesday for an update on the progress the complex is making to fix walkways after two collapsed earlier this month.
Last week, an engineer went to inspect the walkways and the temporary braces put in place to hold them up.
Building inspector Cecilia Sagers said despite the braces, large groups should not be allowed to hang out or walk on any of the elevated walkways on the property and that some of them are still in imminent danger of collapsing.
Sagers also said no one at Peppertree should even be living in the second-floor units.
“We would prefer that the tenants be moved to the lower level instead of unblocking the connecting walkways,” Sagers said.
The judge and city are not just concerned about people walking on the walkways but also the people walking below them.
“Several people live on the second floor and they need to get on top of the walkway. We want to make sure that they are safe enough that they can walk on them,” said Jennifer Sink, City of Memphis Chief Legal Officer. If a walkway collapses whether you are on top of it or underneath it, that can cause serious injury.”
Monday, a federal court judge prohibited Peppertree Apartments from signing new leases for 120 days after failing to keep the property up to code. Sink said that order is put in place to keep people safe.
“We did not want new tenants coming in and being put in a dangerous situation, which is why the city sought that injunction to prevent them from bringing on new tenants,” Sink said.
The temporary measures are only good for 60 days. At that time, the city said the complex managers should plan to permanently repair all of the walkways.
The judge set another hearing for Thursday for another status update.