Major renovations are ongoing at Arnold Tower in Danville following a fatal fall last year by a resident whose estate is suing the Housing Authority of Danville.
Much of the work has been visible from the outside of the six-story building, as workers have spent weeks removing and starting to rebuild outdoor balconies. The project, though, also includes installing new railings on the stairwell of the building where Lois Cox, 92, died in 2011.
Ephraim Helton, the attorney representing Cox's estate, said she was outside her apartment on Jan. 3, 2011, when she somehow went through an opening in the railing and fell to her death. Helton said the railing was insufficient because the openings were too wide.
The case, filed in January of this year in Boyle Circuit Court and seeking unspecified damages, is still in the discovery phase.
Housing authority director Rachel White acknowledged the fall led to installation of new railing in the stairwells, but said the work was not in direct response to the legal action. She declined to discuss specifics of the lawsuit.
White said there had not been any issues with the railings since the building was opened in 1972. After Cox fell, she said the housing authority started putting aside funds and planning to replace the railing.
In addition to the railings and balconies, crews are also replacing some water valves. The work is expected to cost about $400,000 and should be completed by late August or early September, White said.
For many years Arnold Towers was almost exclusively reserved by the housing authority for senior citizens. White said the one-bedroom and studio apartments are now open to other public housing residents, but they try to accommodate elderly residents who want to move there.
The building currently has 65 residents.