Tenants give ideas on public housing Architect seeks input on redesign

October 14, 1993|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Staff Writer

About 45 public housing residents last night presented their ideas for redesigning Lexington Terrace and Poe Homes if Baltimore gets a $10 million federal grant as part of a comprehensive plan to upgrade public housing.

The redesign would be a part of a $293 million plan to demolish most public housing high-rise buildings and replace them with low-rise units.

The plan was unveiled on Tuesday by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Gov. William Donald Schaefer and Daniel P. Henson III, executive director of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City.

The plan would be funded with city, state and federal funds.

The city is requesting a $10 million grant to redesign and renovate Lexington Terrace and Poe Homes in West Baltimore.

The meeting in the Lexington-Poe auditorium was one of 10 planned by architect Leon Bridges to solicit opinions from residents.

Mr. Bridges' firm was hired last month by the housing authority to help develop a master plan for the housing complex by the end of the year.

"We want to talk and to comprehend and ask hard questions and get hard comments on how to beautify an area," he said.

Residents are being asked their wishes for physical surroundings, services and management and to comment generally on their communities.

At the first meeting on Oct. 7, tenants said that they needed safer play areas for children, improved maintenance, new electrical systems and washing machines and dryers in each unit. Some complained that "mature roots of trees ruin the sidewalks" in the complexes.

Marsha Franklin, who lives in the high-rise building at 755 W. Lexington St., said at yesterday's meeting that security would improve if working people moved into the high-rises.

"One thing about a person who works, you have better security. They pay taxes and they will make sure that we have better security," Ms. Franklin said.

About the buildings, she said, "They need total renovation. There is no quick fix-up."

Cherylene Cooper, 20, who also lives at 755 W. Lexington St., complained about poor maintenance.

"It is terrible," said Ms. Cooper, who pays $72 a month for a two-bedroom unit. "It floods, and they turn the heat up so high you can barely breathe."

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