Park Avenue Demolition Cancelled
The decision this week to delay demolition of some Park Avenue housing ends a years-long showdown.
"The CHA, Columbia Housing Authority, discussed plans to demolish the entire complex starting a few years ago. Back then, residents who would have had to move out were up in arms. They felt left out of the picture. They wanted to be part of the discussion, they not only wanted to just be yelling with their voices. They wanted to be heard," Mary Hussmann, a lead organizer for Grass Roots Organizing, said.
With demolition no longer a current option, residents want renovation.
"You know, they need a little repair, but shoot it's better than it was like 20 years ago," Park Avenue resident Bertha Warrick said.
"They can remodel the inside of some these homes. And I mean just because you stay in the projects because that's what it's called, doesn't mean it has to look like it," one resident said.
CHA officials said most current residents did want the demolition, but funding and higher priorities meant now was not the time to make the move.
"What many people don't realize is that we have a lot of turnover in public housing and that 50% of the people that live on Park Avenue now have lived there less than 2 years," Phil Steinhaus of CHA said.
Steinhaus hopes to revisit the need for demolition and renovation with residents in about five years.