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Most Common Property Maintenance Code Violations

The City performs a comprehensive property maintenance inspection of exterior property, the premises, the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems, fire and life safety aspects, fundamental light, ventilation and occupant needs, and general sanitation.

The most common deficiencies identified during the Property Maintenance Inspections include:

  1. SMOKE DETECTORS: Smoke detectors are required on every level of the home, within 10 ft. of sleeping areas and inside each sleeping area. All detectors must operate when under a test. Some homes, based on age, may have “interconnected” detectors. These detectors are connected together (hard-wired) and will sound an alarm throughout when activated. Older homes may not have this wiring. If the home is equipped with interconnected detectors, they must function properly. If they do not initiate an alarm throughout when the test button is pushed, consult a qualified electrician.
  2. CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS: Carbon Monoxide detectors are required within 10 ft. of all sleeping areas if the home has any type of fossil fuel burning appliance or an attached garage. The units can be battery operated, plug-in type or combination smoke/carbon type. There is no height requirement for mounting purposes; consult the manufacturer’s specifications. The detector will have a test button, which is readily accessible that will be used to test the device to ensure proper operation.
  3. FIRE SEPARATION: A solid wood door (i.e. no hollow core, 6-panel, or glass-paned doors) between an attached garage and a living area. There shall be no missing or damaged dry wall between an attached garage and living area.
  4. INOPERABLE/MISSING GFCI OUTLET: Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or “GFCI outlets” are required in unfinished basements, kitchens, garages, exterior areas of the homes, bathrooms, protecting Jacuzzi tubs and pools, and within 6 ft. of the leading edge of a sink.
  5. GFCI PROTECTION AT SWIMMING POOLS/HOT TUBS: All 15 and 20 amp, 120/240 volt pool pump motors must have GFCI protection. Underwater luminaires must also have GFCI protection if operating at more than the low voltage contact limit.
  6. WIRE COVERAGE/PROTECTION OF WIRES: 120/240 volt wiring located in the “zone” from the spot on the floor that you are standing on to 7 ft. in height must be protected by covering with at least ½” thick drywall. These include wires in garages, basements and other typically unfinished areas.
  7. ELECTRIC SERVICE DROPS: The lowest point on any feeder line that runs from the main power lines to a structure shall be at least 10 ft. above the surface below it.
  8. HEATING UNITS AND WATER HEATERS: Vent pipes must be free of deterioration, blockages or separation of connections. Each connection must have three fasteners (generally self-tapping sheet metal screws). Evidence of decay or rusting may indicate improper draft. Vent pipes shall not be too close to combustibles. There must be sufficient combustion air in furnace room (e.g. 50 cubic feet of room volume required per 1000 BTUH of input to all fuel-burning appliances). Water heater relief valves shall not be mounted too far from the tank, drain tubes must be provided, and such tubes must not be reduced in diameter, too short, too long or have its discharge end threaded.
  9. WINDOWS/SCREENS: Windows must be in good repair and be weather tight. Glazing must be free from cracks and holes. Windows must be easily openable and capable of holding in any raised position without assistance. Every door, window, and other outside opening used for ventilation of habitable rooms, kitchens or food storage areas must have tightly fitting insect screens. Screens may not have tears or holes large enough to permit entry of insects.
  10. FUSE/CIRCUIT BREAKER PANEL: There may not be any unused openings in the panel. There shall not be any unlabeled circuits. Except for circuits dedicated to appliances requiring higher amps, no circuits may rate more than 20 amps. Panels must have a 30-inch minimum working space in front and a width of not less than the width of the panel from the panel to 36 inches from the panel. There shall not be more than one wire per terminal (i.e. no “double-lugging”). There shall be no openings in the electrical service panel cover, which would allow accidental contact with live electric terminals.
  11. EXTERIOR/FOUNDATION/STRUCTURAL/UNSAFE CONDITIONS: Maintenance of the exterior of the home and its surrounding area is required. This includes removal/repair of rotten structural wood members, foundation failure, any structural issues, as well as broken guardrails, steps, or walkways that create a hazard or are unusable. Exterior components such as, but not limited to roofing, siding, all other protective treatments, decks, awnings, signs, rain gutters, chimneys, fences, and accessory structures shall be installed as designed and in working order. Exterior property and premises must be clean, safe and in a sanitary condition. This includes maintaining the premises and structures to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water, rodent infestations, etc.
  12. MISSING HANDRAILS/RAILINGS: Handrails are required along exterior or interior stairs with more than four risers or railings along porch landings 30 inches or more above grade.
  13. MISSING/INCORRECT PLACEMENT OR TYPE OF STREET NUMBERS: In order for emergency responders to find a specific location quickly, street address numbers must be digits and not words (i.e. “1933” not “nineteen thirty-three”). They must be located on the dwelling, fastened with screws or nails (no stick on numbers), and be a contrasting color to their background (i.e. dark numerals on light siding or light numerals on dark siding or brick). Street numbers shall not be brass, gold, silver, bare aluminum, or copper.
Property Maintenance Inspection
2019-04-23T11:22:51-06:00 April 23rd, 2019|

Rock Roll-O-Rena Skating Rink

Rock Roll-O-Rena Skating Rink

Fun-Filled Blast from the Past

In 1964, Harold Long concluded there were few places in Arnold that his four children could visit for fun and avoid trouble when they were not at school – not only his kids, but kids from other local families, too.

Although he was not a skater Long decided to build an indoor roller skating rink and open it to the public for an admission fee.

With four partners, Long purchased about an acre of land along Jeffco Boulevard. He hired an architect and construction team. His vision began to take shape when the 8,700 square-foot skating surface of polished American maple was installed like a giant oval.

Long was correct that there were few places in Arnold back then where kids and families could enjoy indoor recreation in both summer and winter. There was a movie theatre and a bowling alley within close driving distance, but not much else for people who wanted something new for having fun with friends and family.

On February 27, 1965, the Rock Roll-O-Rena opened to a mighty fanfare of newspaper publicity and public enthusiasm. The place was packed with people old and young. Long and his wife Maxine had promoted the grand opening in advance by notifying churches, schools, and local businesses, and by christening their skating rink with a distinctive name.

JoDonna Neifert was nine years old when the doors opened. “It was named for its location in Rock Township, and ‘Roll-O-Rena’ was used rather than ‘arena’ so the name would sound different from anything else,” she says. As a teenager, JoDonna started working in the snack bar, and has worked in the Rock Roll-O-Rena ever since.

Romance on Skates

JoDonna Glen NeifertWith her husband Glen Neifert, JoDonna co-owns and co-manages the Rock Roll-O-Rena today. Long is her maiden name. Her father Harold managed the business for more than 30 years, often with help from his original partners Elmer and Sandra Bullerdick and Herbert and Gertrude Crow. JoDonna’s brother Paul Long and his wife Tammy also worked there for years.

It is a venue where visitors are transported to a different time, perhaps to childhood or their teen years, or to the place where they spent their first date or experienced their first kiss. With its 1960s-style yellow and orange colors and snack bar booths, it’s a retro setting that seemingly never changes as people, some holding hands, skate around the gleaming maple floor while music plays. Rock Roll-O-Rena endures the test of time.

“So many people visit and tell me they remember skating here on a first date or coming here to meet someone – a lot of them met their husbands or wives as teenagers and later married each other, and now their kids come here,” JoDonna says, smiling.

JoDonna and her husband Glen were one of those teen couples. Says Glen, age 63, “I came here in 1973 to roller skate for the first time, and it turned out I could skate pretty well. I saw JoDonna and decided to stick around for a while to talk with her.”

“We met for the first time by the pinball machine,” Glen recalls, “and one thing led to another.”

After Glen visited the roller skating rink several times, JoDonna’s father offered Glen a part-time job. “That was a big change maker,” Glen says.

That year Rock Roll-O-Rena expanded its indoor space by one third, not including the maple skating floor. Glen helped out with the improvements.

When he and JoDonna started dating, they sometimes also watched movies at a long-gone Jefferson County drive-in theatre. In 1975 Glen and JoDonna got married. From the start they made a great team for the small business. For one thing, they both love the skating rink, and they love being around people from all walks of life who visit there.

“If you don’t like people, you shouldn’t be in a public business like this,” says Glen, adding, “We are ‘people people.’ And we love the kids who skate here.”

The Neiferts work together very well. You might say they are a true Mom and Pop operation. Since their marriage, they both have handled the financial books and record keeping, and they manage Rock Roll-O-Rena advertising and promotions, such as for fundraisers and their “Kids Skate Free” program among others, including a speed skating lesson program.

When JoDonna and Glen got married, Harold Long was the boss and owner. By then he had bought out his original partners. JoDonna and Glen shared Long’s business values and recreational mission that, then as now, included preserving a safe environment to enjoy skating fun:

  • Skating is supervised at all times by “skating guards” (employees).
  • Skating speeds must be reasonable; passing other skaters must be done carefully.
  • No skater should move recklessly or jeopardize others’ safety.
  • No skater is allowed to carry children on skates anywhere in the building.
  • Alcoholic beverages, illegal substances or anyone under the influence are prohibited, and no smoking is allowed in the building.

Cater to the Skater

Rock Roll-O-Rena is open ThursdayFriday, and Saturday evenings, and also for private parties. In fall, winter, and spring it is open seven days a week with Tuesdays and Wednesdays reserved for private skating groups, such as from churches, schools, and scout troops. Parents often drop off their children there to skate and then pick up the kids after an hour or two, or stay to skate with them. On Saturday nights the crowd often includes high school kids “and every Saturday night is a different experience,” JoDonna says.

Rock Roll-O-RenaThe polished maple skating floor can accommodate up to 700 people; the entire building can handle up to 1,000. About 650 pairs of roller skates in different sizes are available to rent for $2 each. New pairs of skates can be purchased.

Harold Long passed away in 2002 and his wife Maxine in 2005. Times have changed, yet much about Rock Roll-O-Rena remains the same. As the owners today, Glen and JoDonna say they have managed to keep Rock Roll-O-Rena in business for so many years because “we cater to the skater.”

“We listen to our customers and respect their opinions,” says Glen. “We have done that since the beginning,” adds JoDonna. “Many of our customers have become good friends.” These days, about 500 people a week go there to roller skate.

“The bottom line is that you’ve got to stay focused on the customer and ‘work your business’ to keep it going,” Glen asserts. The Neiferts remember the hard times encountered during the recession of 2007-2009, when they always managed to provide paychecks for their part-time employees, but sometimes did not pay themselves.

“You’ve got to keep your credit up,” JoDonna says.

The potential liability of running a roller skating rink is enormous, and expenses keep increasing. The Neiferts’ biggest expenses for the business are liability insurance, utilities (air conditioning and heating their 14,500 square foot building), and fees they pay to music licensing organizations so the Rock Roll-O-Rena sound system can play popular music for skaters.

“We’ve played every kind of music you can think of,” says Glen, who programs the sound system. “The music we play during any year always reflects the tastes of American consumers. During the disco years of the 1970s skaters were moving to all the disco sounds. We’ve played rock, country, pop, jazz, classical, and hip-hop through our loudspeakers. You’ve got to talk to your customers to find out what kinds of music they like when they’re skating. No matter what music it is, it’s got to have a beat.”

Will the dwindling number of roller skating rinks in America go the way of the circus?

“That’s a good question,” Glen says. “The way I see it, roller skating rink owners that don’t constantly ‘work their business’ will eventually close their doors. Every rink owner has got to like people of all ages, including kids, and they’ve got to love the business they are in.”

“The Rock Roll-O-Rena has a tradition of being a family-oriented place where people can come to skate, have fun, and be safe. As long as it does, we’ll be here.”

Story by Jeff Dunlap

2018-11-29T10:12:10-06:00 September 27th, 2018|Executive Excellence|

Unico, Inc.

Unico of Arnold Helps Keep the Ghosts of Abraham Lincoln & Ernest Hemingway Alive!

UNICO Systems

UNICO Systems

Few industrial companies based in Arnold can say with assurance that they’ve improved original properties where Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, and other luminaries walked the halls. Or, in President Lincoln’s case, where he died.

Unico, Inc., headquartered in Tenbrook Industrial Park, is the only company in Arnold – and one of few in the world – whose products have helped preserve irreplaceable historic homes and properties across the U.S. and in Europe, products that are also found in many newer, upscale modern properties internationally.

Such properties range from the cottage on a hill outside Washington, D.C., where President Lincoln relaxed away from The White House, to the downtown boarding house where Lincoln died after he was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre across the street. With Unico’s help, both of those properties are among many that are well-preserved and open to the public today. Unico projects include Ernest Hemingway’s two-story house in Key West, FL, where the author lived and worked for more than a decade. The improved property is now a tourist destination and museum with grounds inhabited by 40 cats, the offspring of Hemingway’s own. The 50,000 sq ft mansion called Hempstead House on Long Island, NY, was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for his famed novel The Great Gatsby. Much of the mansion’s renovation features Unico improvements. So does The LaMatta House built in Queens, NY by Chris LaMatta, great nephew of middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMatta – a luxurious, 7,500 sq ft private home that is not open to the public. Yet Unico projects cover far more than properties linked to famous presidents, authors, and celebrities.

The company’s clients today include colleges, universities, government agencies, historic trusts, homeowners, real estate developers, and rehabbers of all varieties. Also known as The Unico System®, the company’s flagship product this year will be featured on the popular television program This Old House – for the 34th time. So…What does Unico do?

Founded by Joe Intagliata and his wife Sharon in 1988, Unico makes small-duct and ductless heating and air-conditioning systems that are whisper quiet and nearly invisible once they are installed, and which can accommodate virtually any structural environment, new or old. The innovative Unico System is often preferred by the property owners or caretakers of projects involving modern renovations of older structures, new construction, and upscale property rehabilitations. To date, the Unico System has been installed in about 500,000 properties in the U.S. and internationally.

Family Owned & Managed

Scott Intagliata, Unico marketing director, is one of Joe and Sharon Intagliata’s four grown sons who manage the company today at its Arnold headquarters along with President Phil Coerper and Engineering Vice President Craig Messmer. The modern plant employs 80 skilled engineering, manufacturing, sales, customer service, and operations personnel. The 125,000 sq ft building also hosts Unico’s subsidiary, SGI Manufacturing, which designs and builds HVAC materials.

Scott, a graduate of Tulane University and the University of Missouri – St. Louis, says, “Our family has owned the Unico business for 20 years now. Prior to that, my father and older brother were heating and air-conditioning contractors, and they installed a product similar to the one we manufacture today.”

“At the time they were based in south St. Louis where we had a facility on Meramec Street.Their contracting firm was one of 32 contractors across the United States who worked together like a business cooperative, and they all installed a product that was the forerunner to what is today’s Unico System. They put that product primarily in houses constructed before people had air conditioning.”

“About 20 years ago my father and older brother decided that they’d had enough of that forerunner product, which was invented by a man named Calvin McCracken, an MIT graduate who owned multiple patents. Craig Messmer, our vice president of engineering, knew of Calvin McCracken back then. One of Calvin’s engineers told Craig, ‘I am retiring, but I can make an improved, new product for you guys,’ meaning for our family.”

“My father and older brother were instrumental in the cooperative group that decided to take on that new proprietary product, and it made sense for my father to oversee sales of that new product.”

One Unico Exec Team
Warren Sign  at Sharpshooters BBQ
UNICO PLANT Worker
Warren Sign  at Arnold First Baptist EMC
Unico Plant Worker
Warren Sign at Cardinal’s Nation

“Since there were 32 contractors in that group, the family decided that we would buy out all of them,” Scott says. In 1997, the Intagliatas did just that.

For 10 years after the acquisition, Unico was based in south St. Louis as the family built its customer base for the proprietary new product and maintained good relations with the cooperative group it had bought out. The Intagliatas chose Arnold as the place to consolidate all of the company’s manufacturing. The family decided to build a modern facility to employ 40 people.

The date April 27, 2007, was proclaimed “Intagliata Family Day” in Arnold when the mayor, city officials, contractors, and local citizens gathered for groundbreaking ceremonies with the Intagliatas. Civic officials lauded the site as the start of a new industrial building boom for Arnold. Joe Intagliata told a newspaper reporter, “Give us a couple of years and, as a private organization, we’ll have more employees than any other private organization in Arnold. If I had known the people in Arnold were so nice, we’d have been here 10 years ago,” he said.

The new manufacturing plant opened and was busily occupied within a year. A year later the United States entered a recessionary economic downturn and the construction industry, including Unico, was hit hard.

Shannon Intagliata, sales director at the company and a member of the management team, says, “For us, the timing of that recession was horrible. Just a year or two before it hit we had built the new plant and then the recession brought tough times for everybody. Unfortunately, we had to lay off some employees.”

“The year 2009 was terrible. In the credit crunch, people who would otherwise borrow money against the equity in their homes to install the Unico System often couldn’t do that. It was heartbreaking for us to have to lay off some employees,” Scott Intagliata says, “but we had a good enough base of business, we kept a good base of customers for the company to get through those tough times.”

“With smart management, we were able to weather the storm,” Shannon adds.

Marketing Success

In his role as marketing director, Scott Intagliata has utilized state-of-the-art techniques that include marketing analytics and targeted digital marketing to help expand, grow, and preserve Unico’s success since 2009.

He attributes the company’s sales volume to the fact that Unico markets to elite homeowners with assets of at least $500,000 who can afford a new HVAC system to help beautify and increase the value of their home. He especially credits Unico’s affiliated contractors nationwide “who continue to promote our product installation as part of their business.”

“You can’t have one without the other,” he says.

Phil Coerper, Unico president, points out, “Our focus is on high-quality customer service. Our commitment is to make sure the experience for our customers and our contractors is as good as it can be. We are very committed to making sure that the experience of working with us fits beautifully for the people with whom we are interacting. Our type of customer is paying a premium and expects a perfect installation and a perfect product.”

“This commitment is an outgrowth of Joe Intagliata’s customer service philosophy from the early days, and which the company has carried forward as a hallmark of our operation,” Coerper asserts.

“Excellent products and responsive service are the lifeblood of this business,” adds Shannon Intagliata. “Our on-time shipments are at 99.8 %, and we want to improve that.”

Unico employees are responsible for much of the company’s success. Shannon says, “There’s a passion and pride for our company’s traditions and commitments that is reflected in our employees.”

“We have a long-tenured workforce – employee turnover is minimal at 1%. There’s a family feeling here, and it is not just among the Intagliata family. A lot of married couples work here. Our father always treated his employees as good as he treated our customers. Everybody here knows that they are working for a family and a company that cares,” Shannon says.

In 2016, Unico expanded its existing plant in Arnold with a $2 million investment that consolidated all of its non-manufacturing operations by building new offices, a training center, an R&D lab, and other improvements at the facility it opened in 2007.

Scott Intagliata credits Phil Coerper with forward-thinking leadership to help make that expansion happen after Coerper joined Unico as its president four years ago.

Like many companies, Unico in recent years has seen a lot of millennials enter its workforce. The company has accommodated these younger people, as well as its other employees, with opportunities such as flexible work hours, tuition reimbursement for work-related advanced study, and a social lounge where employees can play board games or simply relax on work breaks.

Future Growth

Unico, which began as an air-conditioning installation firm staffed by Joe Intagliata and one of his sons, seems positioned for even greater success than it has achieved since 1997.

Asked how the company has grown so much in 20 years, Unico’s management team responds with these comments:

“We consolidated business and manufacturing operations at our expanded plant in Arnold.”

“We continually introduce new technology to our operations.”

“We hire and engage employees with new skill sets.”

“We maintain exceptionally good relations with our installation companies and our customers.”

“We want our employees to excel in their jobs, and we maintain programs to help them do so.”

“We found capable and skilled employees in Arnold, and the City has been very supportive of our business.”

Joe and Sharon Intagliata are now retired and have a home in Florida. As Unico’s CEO and chairman of the board, Joe is at headquarters once or twice a week when in Arnold. Though not involved with day-to-day operations, Joe consults with and advises his sons about the business that the family founded. He attends all of the major parties and celebrations at headquarters, and he visits with employees he has known for a long time.

“We are maintaining and preserving the traditional values that our father introduced to this business, we are doing it in a modern way, and we continue to work hard to be the best caretaker of our customers in this industry,” says Shannon Intagliata.

Story by Jeff Dunlap

2018-04-09T11:20:32-06:00 April 9th, 2018|Small Time, Big Time Stories|