Harbour House Complex To Get $2.1 Million Face Lift Annapolis Wins Federal Grant For Renovation Project

October 03, 1990|By Paul Shread | Paul Shread,Staff writer

Harbour House, the largest of Annapolis' 10 public housing developments, will be getting a $2.1 million face lift.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the grant to the Annapolis Housing Authority last week, one of 14 given to housing agencies in Maryland.

"I'm very pleased we've got that money, because it's really needed," Housing Authority Executive Director Harold Greene said. "It's critical."

Harbour House, a complex of 2 -story garden-style apartment buildings, was built in the 1950s as middle-income housing. The Housing Authority bought it in 1968. With 273 apartments and more than 1,000 residents, it accounts for 25 percent of all public housing units in the city.

The complex has received only routine maintenance over the years, Greene said, and is in run-down condition. Lighting is poor in some areas.

Balconies and stairways are run-down. Some of the buildings have drainage problems, and water backs up into at least one basement.

Greene said the money will be used to install new security doors and an intercom system, add lighting, improve drainage and landscaping and repair sidewalks, balconies and stairways.

The agency also will renovate vacant rooms in the basements that once contained laundry facilities. The rooms will be used for meetings and activities, Greene said. The complex has two central laundry rooms now.

The grant money will also be used to expand the community center Harbour House shares with neighboring Eastport Terrace, which also will be getting drainage improvements under the grant.

The work should begin next spring and be completed by early 1992, Greene said.

When finished, the agency will begin renovating the interior of the apartments, installing new kitchens and bathrooms, among other renovations.

That will cost an additional $2.5 million, bringing the total project to about $4.6 million. Greene said HUD has approved the interior renovations, but said the Housing Authority won't know how much money it will get for them until next year.

Greene said it took a lot of work to win the grant. "I give my staff a lot of credit," he said. "We put a lot of long hours in on this."

Although residents are pleased with much of the work that will be done, praise for the plan in Harbour House was not universal.

Rosalie Mitchell, president of the Harbour House tenants' council, said residents would have preferred to have seen the vacant basement rooms turned back into laundry rooms. But Greene said most residents at community meetings told him they were happy with the laundry facilities as they are.

Mitchell also said residents would have liked to have seen central air conditioning restored to the apartments. It was removed under the administration of Greene's predecessor, Arthur G. Strissel Jr., who is now in a federal prison in Florida, convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks.

Greene said he didn't know why the air conditioning was removed, and said he sympathized with residents. But, he said, when he approached HUD with the residents' concern, the federal agency would not give the Housing Authority money to restore air conditioning.

The Housing Authority also has received a $35,000 HUD grant to install sprinkler and intercom systems in the Glenwood Senior Citizen high-rise, on Glenwood and Clay streets.

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