Plaza Towers residents go home after 17 days

10:09 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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Plaza Towers

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Wednesday was the first night in two and a half weeks that residents of the Plaza Towers were allowed to move back into their homes.

Residents of the building's condominiums and apartments were forced out of their homes by flooding on April 20.

Work is still underway to repair the remaining damage from last month's floods, including getting one of the elevators back in operation and fixing the gutted basement.

One of the residents returning Wednesday was eighth-floor resident Lynne Pope and her husband.

"It's great to be back home," she says.

The Popes stayed at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel for 18 days, waiting for the go-ahead to return.  When they walked back in, things in their unit were exactly as they left them -- minus a few items from the refrigerator -- removed because of spoilage. 

But the couple is also trying to tie up other loose ends caused by the flooding.

"Both of our cars were totalled because they were underwater," Pope explains.  "Out storage units are on the first floor, and our cars were in the basement."

It was the basement that flooded on April 20, leading to power problems that forced the evacuation.  The Popes' cars were insured and will be replaced soon.  More than 80 cars were in the basement when it flooded.

The couple gives the management at the Plaza Towers praise for how they handled the flooding.

"They've been extremely accommodating," says Lynne Pope.  "When we needed to get back into the apartment complex, they were more than happy to climb al the way up the stairwells."

But the Popes have an unanswered question -- who foots the bill for their extended hotel stay?

"I don't know how that's going to work just yet," she says.

We are very pleased that things moved quite fast," says Nurys Eduardo, a Plaza Towers manager.  "I know this was long-term for people, but at the same time we worked really hard to get everybody back."

The property offered a meal and drinks to the returning residents Wednesday.

"Everybody has been so supportive," says Eduardo.  "The residents have been just amazing, great to work with."

As for the Popes' questions, they are patiently awaiting answers -- and they are happy to be home and safe.

"Nobody lost their lives, nobody lost their limbs," says Lynne Pope.  "That's different from some of the other natural disasters."

Plaza Towers residents will be receving new parking permits and security codes.  Temporary parking has been set up near the building until the basement ramp is back in working order.

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