Getting Answers: Bergen Circle without hot water, multiple issues

Some residents worry no one cares enough to help.
Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 8:10 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Western Mass News spoke with some of the tenants who live in Bergen Circle Apartments and they tell us there are multiple issues within the building affecting their daily lives. Some of them worry no one cares enough to help.

“When you come in here, it’s not the same. we say: is good, it looks nice from the outside. but what about the inside? Which is where we live,” said Pedro Rivera a Bergen Circle resident.

Pedro Rivera has lived at Springfield’s Bergen Circle apartments for seven years.

Western Mass News visited Rivera at his one-bedroom apartment, which he shares with his dog Rocky. He tells us in Spanish that living at the Bergen Circle apartments comes with its own set of challenges.

“The owner of the building, when they bought it, they fired security. That’s what’s killing us. because here, since I’ve lived here, things weren’t how they are now.” said Rivera

According to Rivera and other tenants in the building, who did not want to speak in front of our cameras, the complex is infested with mice and rats, a construction project going on for years, no front door security, and most recently, no hot water.

When we were there, we saw a notice by each elevator alerting all residents of plumbing issues as the reason why they have no hot water.

When we reached out to the property’s management company in Camden, New Jersey, for a comment on the living conditions.

Laura Zaner, the Vice President of Corporate Communications only addressed the water issue.

She tells Western Mass News that the boiler in the building is to blame for the lack of hot water, and the problem was supposed to be fixed on Wednesday but wasn’t.

In a statement, she says in part quote:

“The part that the plumber installed this morning did not fix the problem. I am waiting for an update on the next move,” said Zaner

These ongoing issues are also something that local officials are aware of.

State Representative Bud Williams – who toured the building not long ago tells us this issue is one that he’s seen before.

“There’s a pattern here in the city. These developers come in, they make good money on the rents, and they just don’t give a damn about the conditions of black and brown people. Most of these buildings are black and brown people. They have to do a better job. the façade looks great on the outside, but not just the outside. We gotta take care of the inside also. and For people to live like this it’s inhumane. Is like being in a third-world country. This isn’t a third-world country.” said Williams

Officials from Springfield’s code enforcement are performing assessments of their own.

Bill Baker, the communications director for the office of Springfield’s Mayor, Domenic Sarno, tells Western Mass News in a statement in part quote:

“Springfield Code Enforcement is aware of the conditions at Bergen Circle and citations have been issued …  due to the conditions not being resolved, including the lack of hot water, code enforcement has referred this matter to our law department, which in turn has filed a case in housing court.  The case remains open and pending before housing court.”

In the meantime, Rivera says he’ll continue to stay in his apartment since moving is not an option for him.

“Here, you see how I am now. Always in here, because in here, I don’t know and I have tried to move but it is too expensive to find an apartment.”

According to Representative Williams, the case is going to be discussed in Springfield’s housing court on Friday morning. we’ll make sure to bring you any updates on these issues impacting the residents at Bergen Circle as they develop.