Leaks in roof cause closing of rec center

Smoke alarm indicated potential fire hazard

Building serves public housing


July 17, 2002|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

The Housing Authority shut down a recreation center for two Annapolis public housing developments Monday after it was found that roof leaks had allowed water to enter the electrical system, creating a potential fire hazard.

The city's electrical inspector, Clint Pratt, said he declared the Eastport building "unfit for habitation" and ordered the Housing Authority to replace the roof before reopening the building.

The move is the latest problem arising from deteriorating conditions at the authority's 10 properties - which have brought criticism of the authority and its executive director, P. Holden Croslan.

Yesterday, Mayor Ellen O. Moyer, who had sent a letter to Croslan raising concerns about the center's closing, called conditions at the authority's five recreation centers "deplorable" overall.

"There is no excuse," Moyer said, adding that the authority has the resources to repair its recreation centers.

Discovery of the leaky roof was prompted by a smoke detector that sounded Sunday, Pratt said.

A subsequent investigation by the Fire Department revealed that water was the cause of the false alarm, Pratt said.

When Pratt arrived to inspect the building Monday, he discovered that water from weekend storms had flowed into the electrical system.

Pratt said the water had caused several ceiling tiles to collapse and filled fluorescent lights.

"Basically, they have a serious roof leak that is allowing water to flow into the building," Pratt said. "The roof has to be completely replaced."

Housing Authority spokeswoman Pam Kane noted yesterday that the authority had not received anything in writing from the city.

Previous repairs

She said the authority has known about the problems with the 37-year-old building's roof for almost a decade and has repaired it several times.

After learning of the potential fire hazard Monday, the authority closed the building and relocated the summer camp held there to another neighborhood.

"We closed it because it was not safe for the kids," Kane said. "We've never had the capital funds to make the full repair of the roof - now we do."

A roof replacement was planned for this fall, she said. In the meantime, the authority hopes to make temporary repairs to the roof to allow the recreation center to be reopened next week.

"We need to keep the continuity of the recreation center - it really is the heart of the community for the kids," Kane said.

Sixty-three children attend summer camp at the Eastport center.

Camp site shifted

Until the facility can be reopened, those children will join the 45 children who attend camp at the Robinwood facility, Kane said.

Those are the only two recreation centers opened during the summer. The Housing Authority provides transportation to the camps to residents of other neighborhoods.

Kane said that the authority's priority has been to make repairs to its homes first. She said the authority's recreation centers are in "working condition."

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