AC out this week at North Side apartment tower where 3 residents died in May — but management quickly installs portable units

A resident of the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park said management made a cooling center available.

SHARE AC out this week at North Side apartment tower where 3 residents died in May — but management quickly installs portable units
The James Sneider Apartments at 7450 N Rogers Ave in Rogers Park, Sunday, May 15, 2022.

The James Sneider Apartments at 7450 N Rogers Ave in Rogers Park, where the air conditioning “chiller” failed this week. But crews arrived quickly to install portable AC units, one resident said.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

The air conditioning failed this week at a North Side multi-unit apartment building where three residents died during an extended heatwave in May.

But a resident of the James Sneider Apartments in Rogers Park — owned by the Hispanic Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing — said Wednesday that management quickly informed residents about the issue and began installing portable air-conditioning units Tuesday evening.

“It’s really good,” said resident Catherine Cheeks, 75, who has lived in the building for about 15 years.

Cheeks, who lives on the fifth floor, said she found a flyer poked under her door early Tuesday, in which management alerted residents about problems with the building’s “chiller.”

“The HVAC vendor is on site working around the clock to restore service,” the flyer said.

In mid-May, three Sneider residents — Janice Reed, 68; Gwendolyn Osborne, 72; and Delores McNeely, 76 — died during an extended heat wave.

Last month, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance that, among other things, requires buildings housing seniors, as well as other residential high-rises, to establish cooling centers in common areas when the heat index reaches 80 degrees. The index takes the air temperature and factors in humidity to estimate how hot someone actually feels.

Cheeks said management made a cooling center available to residents Tuesday.

During the May heat wave, temperatures in Cheeks’ fifth-floor apartment exceeded 90 degrees and she slept in the basement for two nights to stay cool, she has said.

Paul Roldán, president and chief executive of the nonprofit developer, has previously said that the safety and security of their residents has always been a top priority and they “welcome any ordinances that establish clear guidelines for building owners and managers.”

Leslie Perkins, chief of staff for Ald. Maria Hadden (49), in whose ward the apartment complex sits, said the alderman’s office first learned about the AC issue from a local TV station Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate we had to hear from a news story,” Perkins said, adding that the ward office had only received one call from a resident about the issue.

“We haven’t heard anything like the crisis from last time,” Perkins said.

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