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Westview housing proposal nixed

August 11, 2000

Westview housing proposal nixed



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


A controversial $42 million proposal to demolish and rebuild the Westview Homes public housing complex in Hagerstown has been denied federal funding, essentially killing the proposal for at least a year, Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle said Friday.

The housing authority will probably reapply next year for funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOPE VI program. Shankle said a final decision on whether to resubmit the application will be made after housing authority and HUD officials meet to discuss why the application was rejected.

The housing authority applied for $10.3 million in HOPE VI funds. According to the housing authority, HOPE VI program grant requests totaled $1.5 billion and about $515 million was awarded.

Shankle said the federal funds were the "catalyst" for the project.

Under the Westview proposal, the 210 apartments at the housing complex would be torn down and replaced with 330 new homes and apartments. The new homes would be a mix of public housing, regular-rate apartments and homes that would be sold.

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The new buildings would go on 27 acres throughout the surrounding neighborhood. The existing homes sit on 15 acres.

Shankle said the 50-year-old Westview Homes are getting too expensive to maintain.

The proposal drew fire from neighbors who feared the project would hurt property values, increase traffic and lead to school overcrowding.

Shankle said he was "not surprised, but still disappointed" the funding request was turned down.

He said such requests are often denied in their first year. Shankle said HUD officials encouraged them to apply again next year.

He said the positive side of being turned down is that community residents will have the chance to become more involved in discussions if the housing authority reapplies for the grant.

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