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VHA sets grocery list of areas for spending $817,000 at homes

[05/30/01] Members of a resident advisory board to the Vicksburg Housing Authority Tuesday approved a plan on how to spend $816,616 in federal funds allocated to boost the city’s five housing complexes.

The breakdown this year will be:

$60,000 to operations

$100,000 to architectural and engineering

$60,000 for site improvements

$223,800 for dwelling equipment

$112,000 for non-dwelling equipment

$60,000 for dwelling structures and

$40,000 for contingencies.

Specifics include drainage work, new stoves and refrigerators for all homes and 24 air conditioner compressors.

“It seems to be a very good plan,” said Gloria Goodman of Rolling Acres.

One of the main improvements the VHA and the tenant advisory board said they would like to see for the 2001 program is area beautification throughout the housing areas, such as landscaping, flowers, shrubbery and playground equipment.

“Some sites have limited space but I would like to have something at all areas,” Executive Director James Stirgus Sr. said. “I would also like to have vandal-proof equipment.”

Stirgus also suggested a softball field be built at Cedars Estates where 35 acres of land is going unused.

The VHA also devised a five-year plan as required by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for the program, which includes bathroom and kitchen renovations, interior and exterior renovations, roofing, interior painting of all residences, lawn mowers, utility trucks, playground upgrades and energy efficient interior lighting.

Another $105,647 was awarded to the VHA in April through the Public Housing Drug Elimination Program for efforts to reduce drug use in housing areas through recreation and activities.

Stirgus said he has already obligated $40,000 to the Good Shepherd Community Center to provide activities for children in all housing areas this summer and for computer classes at Urban Court Apartments.

There is also a community service requirement through HUD that stipulates that anyone 18 or older, able-bodied and not working, must perform eight hours of community service a month. However, Stirgus said 86 percent of residents in VHA homes are employed.

Consultant Robert E. Taylor said the five-member panels’ approval of Capital Fund Program projects forwards the plan to the VHA board and then to HUD. The money should be obligated by March 2002, and spent by December 2002, he said.

“It depends on the bids we receive how much of this actually gets done,” Taylor said.

The VHA received $800,550 in 2000 through the program and used the money for heat and air units for all residences, new mailboxes and a refurbished community building.