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Columbia public housing residents express concerns about proposed renovations

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 | 10:31 p.m. CDT; updated 10:47 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 21, 2012

COLUMBIA — Residents of public housing expressed concerns Tuesday night during a Columbia Housing Authority meeting regarding a proposed project to renovate their residences.

Residents were concerned about the Columbia Housing Authority's proposal to work with ND Consulting Group and others to renovate public housing on Lincoln and Unity drives.

Michael Pryor, president of the Downtown Residents Association, presented comments from a petition that contained more than 120 signatures, including those from 41 households in public housing on the two streets.

"Before displacing families to remodel our homes, we request that you first demonstrate that a public-private partnership can work by building new affordable housing on vacant land," the petition read.

"We believe it is in the best interest of all Columbians that you decide to delay the Lincoln-Unity and any downtown public housing revitalization," Pryor said.

However, Commissioner Peter Stiepleman said commissioners have received complaints, such as problems with plumbing, lack of storage and accessibility issues for tenants who use wheelchairs.

"This public housing is over 50 years old. They're breaking down," said Marvin Kinney, chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Columbia Housing Authority.

He added that "the board is always concerned, and a good listener to what people are concerned about."

The Columbia Housing Authority will hold a meeting at the Columbia Labor Temple at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at 611 N. Garth Ave. to further discuss the plans.

In a separate decision, a resolution to authorize the conversion of up to 30 "tenant-based" housing vouchers to "project-based" vouchers was approved after a change was made to the resolution. This represents the first step toward building affordable housing at 2112 Business Loop 70 E. 

The Board of Commissioners removed New Horizons Community Support Services from the resolution because of uncertainty surrounding its proposal.

Supervising editor is Jacob Kirn.


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