Layla Mohamed lives on the 15th floor of the 25-story "C Building" in Riverside Plaza. She says the apartment tower, populated primarily by East African immigrants, only has one working elevator right now, which means it can take as long as a half hour to catch a ride up to her apartment.
Making matters worse, she's had her car towed three times in the last two weeks due to a management crackdown on the temporary parking in front of the buildings.
"When I go to get groceries I can't carry them up all of the stairs so I have to wait for the elevator," she explains. "Then when I finally get a ride up and come back down my car has been towed. This has happened three times already, but what can I do? I guess I'm going to keep getting towed."
Fed up with management apathy over chronic maintenance problems at Riverside Plaza and enraged over the recent crackdown on visitor and temporary parking, Mohamed and dozens of other immigrant mothers protested loudly outside of Riverside Plaza Friday afternoon.
They started just before 3 p.m. in front of the "F Building" at 1601 Fourth Ave. S., shouting and carrying handmade signs. Then they marched around the block as mothers driving minivans relentlessly honked in solidarity.
Riverside Plaza owner Sherman Associates has not yet responded to a several messages left by City Pages, but a spokesperson issued a statement to Fox 9 "addressing the parking issues, saying they take great pride in ensuring the safety and comfort of their renters and that they met with the resident association on Friday and are 'taking their concerns into consideration.'"
"Elevators and parking. Those are two biggest issues for the last two months," says another resident, Azad Izak. "We talk to [management] a lot of times and they say it will be fixed, but it's still a problem."
Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, provided a letter he sent Riverside Plaza management in January, warning them about tenants' concerns.
"There's been a communication breakdown and a lack of engagement by management. Everybody is complaining," he says. "It's about maintenance as a whole. The elevators, the cleanliness of the hallways, the parking, it's all connected."
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