During the late l970’s, Joe Fox encouraged a group of rather frustrated landlords to get together to help each other and to learn more about the business into which they had entered. Some of the earliest meetings were held at the McClellend Public Library on Saturday mornings. When I first attended, the room was packed with inquiring minds and hardworking landlords clad in their best Saturday working clothes.
The mission of this group of landlords has always been to help educate members in providing fair, safe and professionally managed properties. The early organizers wrote a Code of Ethics to help insure that mission would be accomplished. Many people have been instrumental in providing seminars and classes, The Pueblo Police Department and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office presented our early training in crime prevention.
Jo Stewart was also an early participant in the group. She managed properties for Steel City Real Estate and was asked to speak on Small Claims Court. She was so nervous that she thought she was going to be sick. But she rose to the occasion and made a very good presentation on how to take those delinquent tenants to Small Claims Court. Other long-time landlords were good teachers; they presented some very good programs to the willing listeners. Among the programs were how to do the bookkeeping, forms you could use for community rules, leases, check-in & check-out, etc. All members received a hand typed booklet with various home grown forms for leases, rules and bookkeeping. We were encouraged to get our receipts in order and not have a shoebox full of receipts to work with at tax time. Remember this was the early 1980’s and everything we used was typed and copied many times over & over. A lot of pencils, erasers, paper and pens were used in our business!
In March of 1981, Jo and a core group of people met and formally began the establishment of the Pueblo Apartment Association. PAA became associated with the Colorado Apartment Association and the National Apartment Association. March has become our birthday month with dues renewals and elections taking place.
For many years, Jo led our group through the good, bad, and the ugly of managing property. She kept us laughing and we learned some slightly silly ways of managing property, if the need arose. Many other people have vastly contributed to the survival of the organization through the years. Their dedication to the organization has been crucial to its survival.
During the 1990’s, new property managers joined our group and quickly took on some of the leadership roles. Many remember Doug Sterner and the big wall he brought to a meeting on maintenance, where he showed us how to patch holes and how to hang the towel bars, etc. in bathrooms so they couldn’t possibly come off the wall. Karin Martinez and Pat McKinney put on the first really big trade show at the Pueblo Convention Center, where about 100+ people attended, visited the vendors, ate lunch and listened to Dan Kogovsek as the lunch speaker.
Records show that Darlene Staruh was Secretary in 1995, so she has earned the honor of being the longest serving Secretary in the history of our organization. Eileen Mestas could be called the rescuer; she came forward on numerous occasions to be President when no one else was willing to do so.
Vendors have always played an important role in our organization, by sponsoring meetings and workshops, offering special deals, and networking with members. From roofers, to carpet cleaners to parts suppliers to insurance agents to background checkers to remediation companies government associations to realtors to appliance outlets to utilities have all been supporters of the Association.
In the early years, our monthly newsletter complete with cartoons was written, typed, copied and mailed to all the members. As technology changed, the newsletter was faxed, e-mailed and snail mailed to members.
Oh, the places we have been. Throughout the years, meeting places have changed to meet the desires of different people. From our beginnings at the Main Library, we have been to Mozart’s, Top of the Town, Cactus Flower on Jerry Murphy, the Town House, Rosario’s, D.J.’S, Gaetano’s, Far East Grill, LaTronica’s, Country Buffet, LaRenaissance, the Pueblo Convention Center and finally our home now, The Pueblo Union Depot..
The education we have received has included programs on crime prevention, fair housing laws, lead & mold clean-up and disclosure, eviction procedures, small claims court procedures, legislation impacting landlords, local, state and federal laws, leasing boot camp, insurance concerns, maintenance help from building window screens to quick clean tips and lots of everything in between.
Our concerns for people have extended to numerous charitable efforts through the years. The YWCA Crisis Center, Way Cross Rescue Mission, Pride City Marching Band, Posada and Los Pobres , United Way, Pueblo Community College Student Pantry, Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Latino Chamber of Commerce, Toys for Tots, and the Pueblo County Courthouse Holiday Lighting have received support, food, clothing and toys from our generous members.
In 2006, the Board of Directors faced a very serious challenge and hard decisions concerning our finances, had to be made. After much discussion, the Board voted to no longer belong to the CAA and to become an independent rental association. The name was changed to Southern Colorado Residential Rental Association (SCRRA) to better reflect our membership which is made up of not only apartment managers but also owners/managers of other types of rental properties in Pueblo and the surrounding area.
Many people have given their time and talent to our organization throughout the years They are not all mentioned in the history, but each and everyone has contributed to the success of SCRRA. The enthusiasm of the members and vendors has enabled us to continue to grow and satisfy our mission.