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Housing Authority outlines project plans

February 13, 2002

Housing Authority outlines project plans



By DAN KULIN
dank@herald-mail.com


Demolition of Hagerstown's Westview Homes and construction of the first phase of a $73.5 million housing development that will replace the public housing project will begin Sept. 30, and new homes will be finished a year later, according to a project schedule presented Tuesday to the Mayor and City Council.

The first phase of the Hagerstown Housing Authority project will include the demolition of the 210 units in the 50-year-old barrack-style Westview public housing complex. Also, 94 new homes will be built, and a new $3.7 million community center will be built on Elgin Park.

Current residents of Westview, which is in the city's West End and south of West Washington Street, will be relocated before demolition begins, said Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle.

Construction of the later phases of the proposed development will begin after the first phase is completed. The project is scheduled to be completed in May 2005, according to the schedule presented Tuesday.

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When done, 368 new homes will have been built, and another 32 renovated within the 45 acres between Elgin Park and Vickie Drive. Some streets will be expanded and new roads built as part of the project.

The new homes will include 150 public housing units, 140 apartments that will rent at market rates and 110 homes that would be sold.

Shankle said the project will revitalize the West End physically and socially.

The new homes will be occupied by a mix of renters and owners.

The proposed community center would hopefully be used by all West End residents, Shankle said.

The community center would have an indoor basketball court, day-care center, and offices for agencies and organizations such as the Washington County Health Department and the Boys and Girls Club, he said.

The Hagerstown Housing Authority hired Pennrose Properties in Philadelphia to manage the project.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has pledged $27.3 million for the project through the HOPE VI program, which provides money for select public housing renovation projects nationwide.

The City of Hagerstown has committed $1.5 million in federal money that the city is in charge of dispersing.

Some money will come from the state, Shankle said.

Some Westview neighbors have complained about the project. Most complaints have been about the plan to turn Merbaugh Circle and Vickie Drive, which are now dead-ends, into through streets by extending them and connecting them to other roads.

The housing authority will have to get City Planning Commission approval for the development, just as it does for other developments in the city.

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