Sarasota Housing Authority Resident's Association

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Housing Authority Meets With Residents and Community About Redevelopment Plans

During the past two weeks the Housing Authority has held public meetings with the public housing residents and with the Newtown community so that the status of the redevelopment plans could be presented and questions could be answered.

At last weeks community meeting, Commissioner Fredd Atkins, Housing Authority Reciever Carmen Valenti, Housing Director Bill Russell, Public Housing Resident Association President Valerie Buchand and Redevelopment Consultant David Gilmore all spoke of the process, the issues, the plan and the need for community input.

Commissioner Atkins said forceably that change will happen, either participate or watch it. But it will happen. Housing Director Russell indicated that he felt the Housing Authority properties have had a negative affect on the Newtown community, he wants to change this so these properties will be a positive factor in the community.

The SHT article about this meeting covered the comments and questions brought up by community residents: how will the relocation work? What kind of density is needed? Will the drainage problem be fixed?

The Housing Authority indicated that all these issues are being addressed and that public input is needed to understand the issues and to help find answers.

Basically, the Housing Authority is looking at replacing the current 388 low income rental units with approximately 850 units that would be a mix of low income rentals, subsidized rental and ownership and market rate rental and ownership units. Currently a concept plan is being refined so that a realistic proposal can be solicited from potential developers.

Density, parking requirements, storm water retention and open space are all issues that are being refined. Financing of the project will not be easy, but there is confidence that it will happen. It is hoped that the process for finding a capable developer can begin in about two months.

The preliminary "guestimate" is that the first phase of demolition could start late in 2007. This would require some relocation to occur in mid 2007. Many significant steps in the process need to happen before a realistic timetable can be projected.


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