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Housing authority plans to have apartments ready for August

Originally sourced from The Mercury

"The Manhattan Housing Authority plans to have residents back into its Apartment Towers in August, five years after discovering “black mold.”

Housing authority executive director JoAnn Sutton said the plan is to have work finished by July 25 at the low-income apartments at 300 N. Fifth St., which has 88 efficiency and one-bedroom units.

Work is currently being done to replace windows and improve the sanitary sewer.

Workers have already completed mold and asbestos remediation, HVAC replacement, replacement of furnishings, and other renovations.

Sutton said it feels amazing to have the project near completion.

“We are just elated that we are getting very close to the end,” she said. “We’re going to be able to occupy that building again.”

Authority officials have dealt with a lengthy process for renovating the towers, initially built in 1974.

In August 2013, maintenance staff discovered “black mold” — seen as a sign of poor air quality — on the wall of a bedroom closet at the towers and soon discovered a more widespread mold issue.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided $5.4 million for the project in 2014.

The housing authority’s office moved in January 2015, and officials vacated residents in February 2016. At the time, Sutton said the authority waited to vacate residents because officials didn’t want people “relocated any longer than they had to be.”

However, HUD’s funding didn’t cover windows and the sewer lines, which led to a halt in completing the project.

After HUD declined to give additional money for the project, the city commission approved a $1 million loan to the housing authority this fall to complete the work.

The funding didn’t get secured by the city until late February. The authority will have to pay $60,000 annually for 30 years to pay off the loan.

Once the project is done, officials will have to get a certificate of occupancy and complete other paperwork for the building to officially open.

Sutton said people who lived in the Apartment Towers when it got vacated will be the first to get moved back in.

She said officials will soon begin working with people on the waiting list to determine eligibility. She said the authority is also taking applications for the waiting list.

“When we’re able to move in, we can start moving people as quickly as possible,” Sutton said."


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