Street privatization issue delayed

Wednesday, October 22, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Columbia Housing Authority commissioners assured a crowd of wary residents that it won’t discuss the privatization of streets adjacent to public housing until January.

Private ownership of those streets would allow housing authority officials to arrest individuals that are on the no-trespassing list, such as drug dealers, and move them away from people’s homes.

The housing authority announced during a public meeting Tuesday evening that the commission will hold another public meeting before any decision is made.

Before the start of the meeting, a group of about 30 people flooded the small conference room, holding sheets of paper with question marks scrawled on them. The group presented the housing authority commissioners with 308 signatures of public housing residents who asked for a public meeting about the issue.

In September, the housing authority began discussing the possibility of requesting ownership from the city government of the streets in front of public housing units.

The plan is to help the housing authority fight crime around many of Columbia’s public housing areas.

Christine Carrier, who lives on Park Avenue, told the commissioners that residents of public housing should have more say in the privatization discussion.

“People have many questions about how this would change their lives and the lives of their families and friends,” Carrier said.

Genie Rogers, vice chair of the housing authority, said the commission has not yet taken action and no discussion about the issue has been presented to the city.

“We are just exploring and we are at the very early stages of this,” Rogers said.

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