Tenants fear school expansion will leave them homeless

Rapid City tenants living at Eastside Apartments located at 325 E. Saint Joseph Street say they shouldn’t have to go homeless so that a part–time resident can have a home.

“We have to worry about our daily lives and routine being disrupted because we weren’t warned you had a vision,” wrote Robin Capsel, in a letter he plans to read at the Rapid City council meeting Monday night. “We have to worry Mr. (Hani) Shafai because we cannot rely on a TIF to help us prosper at someone else’s expense,” the 10-year renter wrote.

He says he hopes to get the council’s attention, but even more, he wants dream design developer, Hani Shafai to hear his concerns loud and clear.South Dakota’sSchoolofMinesand Technology is looking to expand to accommodate the growing housing need for students.

“The property is adjacent to the school and is part of a master plan for the enhancement of the school and the enhancement of the community,” said Shafai.

But expanding the university farther west involves moving Capsel and other tenants out.

“They are basically gonna make us homeless to provide housing and little entertainment centers or study halls or whatever they want to do for people out–of–state,” Capsel said.

However, not all tenants at the apartment complex view it that way.

“I think it that’s great. It’s for the children and their education. We don’t need a bunch of drug addicts and drunks and stuff around a college,” said Allen Flesner, a tenant of 6-months.

“I understand that they want progress but they’re kind of sneaking up on us without warning and we would just like to know exactly what their plan is so we can make our own plans,” said Capsel.

Shafai said that’s hard to do right now because while he has every intention to purchase the property he has to get the city on board first.

“We’re working on a few options or few choices so if the project happens those folks who live there will have the ability to move into a different place,” Shafai said.

He also said there are many more steps and he wants to involve everyone in the decision-making process.

Capsel says what’s most frustrating is the landlord has long denied the potential sale of the property. Eastside apartment owner Dennis Oahe said he has not yet sold the property, but declined several times to comment on whether he plans to sell the property to dream design by year’s end.

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