East Harriet nursing home draws noise complaints

Residents say Walker Methodist slow to respond to concerns

Loud music, late night chatter, trash and a lack of parking have become chronic problems near Walker Methodist Health Center in the East Harriet neighborhood according to several upset residents.

“Who would think living across from a nursing home would be loud?” said Janet Maddux, who lives across the street from Walker, which is located at 3737 Bryant Ave. S.

Neighborhood concerns have led to meetings between residents, Walker officials, police staff and City Councilmember Ralph Remington (10th Ward) in recent months. The East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association (EHFNA) also became involved. Walker officials said they are taking steps to resolve complaints, but many residents – some who have lived near Walker for more than a decade without problems until the past few years – remain skeptical of the center’s willingness to address the issues.

Treana and Andrew Mungovan and their 11-month-old son Kieran are among Walker’s neighbors. Treana said some Walker employees sit in their cars early in the morning or late at night blaring their stereos. Bass resonance from the cars and loud conversation from employees who are between shifts or taking smoke breaks often carries into her family’s home, Treana said.

The noise makes putting Kieran to bed a difficult task and he frequently wakes up because of noise from Walker, she said.

“It’s so hard to get him to sleep,” Treana said. “It’s just infuriating.”

Treana drafted a petition in July asking for an immediate end to the noise, which is the most significant issue for most residents. It was signed by 48 residents within a four-block section of East Harriet near Walker and sent to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct and Remington’s office. Police advised residents not to send it to Walker. Instead, a meeting between Walker officials, residents, Crime Prevention Specialist Tom Thompson and Remington was arranged to discuss the complaints.

Walker Administrator John Huhn said it wasn’t the first time he had met with concerned community members. He said he stepped up parking enforcement last year when the EHFNA approached him about a lack of available spots in front of residents’ homes.

Parking is less of an issue this year, but he said he has encouraged evening employees to park in the visitor lot to relieve congestion on the streets. He has also purchased new trash and cigarette receptacles to reduce littler and sent a memo to employees reminding them to be good neighbors. He said “a couple bad apples” have been causing the trouble and he has spoken to them directly.

“Like anywhere else, we have a few who don’t listen to the rules and we address those,” Huhn said.

Huhn said he takes responsibility for some of the noise neighbors have complained about, but not all of it. “It’s a city; there’s noise,” he said.

Some residents have also complained about Walker’s deteriorating grounds. Huhn said the center has received major reductions in state and federal funding in recent years and the grounds keeper was one of the casualties of those reductions.

“We identified that this year our grounds took a turn for the worse,” Huhn said. “But if I have to make a choice between caring for my grounds and caring for my residents, I’m going to pick my residents.”

Huhn said neighborhood complaints are being taken seriously.

“We really are trying to be great neighbors,” he said. “It benefits us all to work together.”

Kim Malrick, Remington’s policy aide, has been in close contact with Walker and neighborhood residents. She attended a meeting between residents and Walker officials last month, as did EHFNA President Matt Perry. Lt. Marie Przynski of the 5th Precinct said she is also keeping tabs on the situation and has requested increased patrols of the area, but noted that officers often have more serious crimes to deal with.

Maddux, who has lived across from Walker for 19 years, said the neighborhood has been quieter recently, but she thinks it’s because the cold is keeping employees inside. Her husband Peter Maddux, who said he’s tired of being woken up from noise across the street, said he would have to wait until spring to find out whether any real change has been made.

“During the last three winters, this is what happens,” Janet said. “We really do have to wait.”

Another meeting between residents and Walker officials is tentatively set for December.

 

Jake Weyer can be reached at 436-4367 and [email protected].