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City housing authority honored

Agency gains recognition for Gateway Crossing project

Agency gains recognition for Gateway Crossing project

November 21, 2007

The Housing Authority of the City of Hagerstown has won two national awards honoring superior assisted housing and community development programs.

The housing authority won in the Program Innovation: Community Revitalization and Project Design categories for the Hagerstown West-End Revitalization.

The 2007 Award of Excellence comes from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and will be officially presented at the association's National Conference and Exhibition in San Diego, Calif.

The Hagerstown agency is one of 22 programs nationwide to receive the 2007 award, out of an original pool of 238 applicants.

The West End was once an area of high crime rates, drug activity and low property values. Abandoned properties and industrial use further added to the area's reputation as a "last resort" area. The Hagerstown Housing Authority decided to redefine the area, and put together a winning HOPE VI application to replace the blighted Westview Homes public housing project.

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Gateway Crossing, a development with 352 mixed-income, mixed-rental and homeownership units, was built in its place. The Hagerstown agency worked with residents of Westview to transition them to new housing.

The HOPE VI funding was also leveraged to obtain additional creative funding sources. The West End is now home to Elgin Station, a 23,000 square foot multi-purpose facility with a full gym, commercial kitchen, computer lab and meeting spaces. Organizations such as Head Start, the Boys & Girls Club, and the Washington County Health Department are all housed within Elgin Station. The agency also funded the refurbishment of the exteriors of 59 privately owned homes on the periphery of Gateway Crossing. As a result, the west end area has seen property values increase more than 130 percent.

"There is great work being done in the housing and community development industry today," said NAHRO President Donald J. Cameron. "The work of the Awards of Excellence winners showcases the innovation, determination and caring that NAHRO members bring to their communities."

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