Two additional public housing complexes have been identified by the Chattanooga Housing Authority for demolition. An application for removal has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Fairmount Apartments and Gurley Street Apartments would be the fourth and fifth public housing sites demolished in six years.
“The days of large public housing projects are numbered,” said Bob Dull, housing authority executive director.
While the number of units available through the housing choice voucher program has increased from 1,250 units in 2000 to 3,140 units in 2008, the number of public housing units have decreased from 3,700 units in 2000 to 2,939 units in 2008.
Housing officials said they do not want to put more money into properties that have been identified as functionally obsolete.
The cost to demolish both North Chattanooga sites is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, while renovations would cost up to $150,000 per unit for each of the 52 units at Gurley and Fairmount, officials said.
Naveed Minhas, housing authority development executive, said the apartments are not brick, their flooring construction is unstable and no units are handicap accessible.
The structures “really need to be demolished,” he said.
“A lot of buildings have water leaks, which have created rot in the structural element,” he said. “The (roofs are) not in good condition, and the electrical and plumbing is out of date.”
Bonita Johnson said she has lived at the Fairmount site for more than 30 years. She would have liked residents to have more input and to have been given more notice about plans for the apartments, she said.
“I know you’ve got to tear them down, but people like to be asked,” she said.
The Fairmount Apartments, at 1311 Fairmount St., has 28 units, 10 of which are occupied. Gurley Street Apartments, 658 Gurley St., has 24 units, six of which are occupied.
Both sites were built in the mid-1970s, Mr. Dull said.
Housing authority officials said they expect a response from the Department of Housing and Urban Development within three to six months. They plan to put affordable housing on the sites if HUD agrees to the demolition, they said.
Residents would have an opportunity to qualify for home ownership, Mr. Dull said.
He said the property is owned by the housing authority, so HUD requires that it be used to serve low- to moderate-income residents. He said housing authority officials are required to meet with residents before any demolition or relocation.
The housing authority applied for a community development block grant to fund most of the demolition and relocation expense, with the remainder coming from capital funds, according to officials.
TAKING THEM DOWN
Housing site — Year of demolition
* Spencer J. McCallie Homes, 578 units — 2002
* Maurice Poss Homes, 188 units — 2005
* The Rev. H.J. Johnson Apartments, 31 units — 2005
* Harriet Tubman, 60 of 500 units — 2005
Source: Chattanooga Housing Authority
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...