Upcoming changes to St. Louis Park apartments have residents worried

Meadowbrook Manor is the largest affordable housing complex in St. Louis Park, but some say as many as half the people who live there may be forced to move because of changes by the new owner.

At the beginning of the year, the longtime owner sold the 551 unit apartment complex to her son, who is in the process of giving the 60-year-old property a much needed facelift.

In addition to upgrades like new front doors and security systems, Bigos Management is requiring residents to clear criminal background checks, and raising rents between $100 to $125 a month, which is forcing many residents, who are on month-to-month leases, to leave.

"I think it sucks. I think the landlord is very money hungry," Meadowbrook Manor resident Angelia Wilks said. "I think he doesn't really care about the residents here. I just feel like its not right. It's not cool."

City officials say they've put more money into an emergency rental assistance program and convinced Bigos Management to continue accepting Section 8 housing vouchers, but they know for low income residents, the city's largest naturally occurring affordable housing complex isn't as affordable as it used to be.

"We're doing our best to mitigate the effects of this, but the fact of the matter is some people are being displaced and some people are getting hurt, " St. Louis Park City Manager Tom Harmening said.

Organizers of a weekly get together at Ainsworth Park called "Basketball In The Park" invited kids who live at Meadowbrook Manor to attend Thursday night's event.

"To show that there's a community out here that loves you, supports you and wants you to be around," Josh Simenstad, advocate for homeless and at-risk families, said. "I hope it raises awareness about the need for affordable housing