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Westview Homes first phase set

April 19, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Demolition of the Westview Homes public housing complex in Hagerstown and construction of the first phase of a $73.5 million replacement will start around the beginning of 2003, and some new homes will be finished by the end of that year, Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle said Thursday.

The first phase of the planned development includes the demolition of Westview's 210 barrack-style units, the construction of 83 new homes, and construction of a $3.8 million community center at Elgin Park, he said. The community center will be named Elgin Station.

The Housing Authority project, which has been named Gateway Crossing, ultimately will include 368 new homes, and 32 renovated homes within the 45 acres between Elgin Park and Vickie Drive. Some streets will be expanded and new roads built as part of the project.

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The new homes will include 150 public housing units, 140 income-restricted rentals, and 110 homes that will be sold, Shankle said.

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

Construction will be done in four phases. The target completion date is December 2005, Shankle said.

A condition of the $27.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that is helping pay for the development requires the project to be completed by September 2006, he said.

Previously, Housing Authority plans stated the demolition of Westview and new construction would begin in late September. Shankle said review and approval of the plans by the many agencies involved is taking longer than anticipated.

The additional time will ensure that current Westview residents have enough time to relocate, he said.

In June, the Housing Authority will notify remaining Westview residents that they have 90 days to find new homes.

Since January, 50 families have moved out of Westview, and 160 families remain, he said.

Shankle said the Housing Authority has been working with Westview residents to help them move. The residents are guaranteed the same level of financial support they have now, and the Housing Authority will pay their moving costs, he said.

The Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday approved several Housing Authority requests, including a special exception that allows the community center, and a special exception that allows the proposed single- and two-family homes on property zoned for apartments, city Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart said.

"Those variances are very important to us so we can finish our designs," Shankle said.

A specific development plan, called a site plan, for the first phase of Gateway Crossing probably will be submitted to the Hagerstown Planning Commission within the next two months, Shankle said.

Site plan approval is needed to get building permits.

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