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New housing to have a community center

July 03, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Demolition of the Westview Homes public housing complex in Hagerstown will start around November or December and construction of a new community center there will start in early 2003, Hagerstown Housing Authority Executive Director Ted Shankle told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday during a project update.

Construction on the $73.5 million replacement project will start around the start of 2003 and some new homes will be finished by the end of 2003, he said.

The $10.7 million 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 $4.5 million community center at Elgin Park, he said.

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The Elgin Station community center will be open and accessible to all West End residents, not just those in public housing. It will probably be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, Shankle said.

Plans for the 23,000-square-foot community center include a gym, multi-purpose room, a day-care center and other facilities. Thirty agencies are expected to provide services in the community center, Shankle said.

The Washington County Community Development Department is asking the City Council to vote to transfer the land for the community center from the city to the Hagerstown Housing Authority at a July 23 council meeting.

A resolution approved by the City Council on May 22, 2001, called for the land donation.

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.

The new homes will include 150 public housing units, 140 income-restricted rentals and 110 homes that will be sold, Shankle said. The hope is by blending together a mixed income community there will be less of a stigma of it being a public housing complex, he 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. All of the funding comes from government sources as well as some in-kind services, Shankle said

The housing authority expects to notify residents soon that they have 90 days to find new homes, he said.

Since January, 85 families have moved out of Westview, and 125 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.

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