Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Project's residents oppose razing it


City may replace Jacob Price homes

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

COVINGTON - The president of the city's Eastside Neighborhood Association says the group will fight to save the Jacob Price housing project from demolition.

"It hasn't been about what the residents want; it's what the outside people who don't live here want, and that's an insult," said President Bennie Doggett. "We don't want them telling us what should happen in our neighborhood."

More than 20 members of the neighborhood association unanimously voted last week to oppose razing the complex, which consists of 168 units on 6 acres. The idea to knock it down is being studied by the Housing Authority of Covington. Results are due in about a month.

"At this point in time it's just a study," said authority Executive Director Bill Simon. "We're waiting for the consultants to come back with what we can and cannot do."

The housing project was built in the 1930s. It is bordered by Robbins Street to the north, 11th Street to the south, Prospect Street to the east and Greenup Street to the west.

Residents pay rent based on their income. That money and a subsidy from the federal government cover the costs to maintain the units.

But Simon said the age of the units and rising costs have become a problem.

"What we're finding is the buildings themselves are becoming obsolete," Simon said. "The units are small and the utilities to maintain them are becoming costly to operate.

Barbara Watkins, 64, has lived in Jacob Price for 60 years.

"I'm comfortable here and can't afford to live anywhere else," said Watkins, who lives on Social Security and disability checks each month. "I don't want to move. This is my home."

Simon said if Jacob Price is razed, residents would be temporarily moved to other housing projects while new units would be built within the city.

The housing authority operates two other family developments - City Heights and Latonia Terrace. It also runs a senior citizens' high rise - Golden Tower - which is being renovated.

Simon said the federal government mandates that they find housing for anyone they displace. If Jacob Price is razed, Simon said it's at least a year away.

"I understand we're talking about people's homes. I do empathize with their reaction," said Simon. "We are looking at creating change that will be positive for them. We want to revitalize subsidized housing on the East Side."

That didn't make Norma Mabrey, 67, feel any better. She has lived in Jacob Price for 43 years.

"I don't want to move," Mabrey said. "We're going to fight this. They're not just going to push us out."

---

E-mail williamcroyle@yahoo.com



ENQUIRER COLUMNS
Bronson: The Hoo-Ah survey trends presidential
DARE teacher receives award

PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT
I've worked for you, Bush tells veterans
Old soldiers expect word to be followed by action
Bush avoids demonstrators
Davis shares Bush spotlight
Powell: Reassigning troops is necessary
Powell, Bush tour Freedom Center

OTHER LOCAL HEADLINES
$2M grant to pay for Banks road
Plane wreckage being cleared
Fee may join tax bills
Fire chief studies fiscal cuts
Adult charges sought in attack
Man arraigned in park incident
Physician charged with Medicaid fraud
Porn case sparks volunteer worries
Beetle battlers can spare wood
Court examines injury case rules
Appeals Judge Winkler to sit with high court
Local news briefs

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
Freedom owner's debt woes multiply
Project's residents oppose razing it
Retail center plan on table
Racing board hires director
Finding lost black schools
Smarty Jones begins Kentucky retirement
Kentucky news briefs

EDUCATION
City schools overspent $21.7M
School year opens with fresh features
Bigger store welcomes teachers, and it's free
Back to school section
Ceremony to celebrate Finneytown's new stadium

NEIGHBORS
Subdivision access debated
Loveland roads close for resurfacing

LIVES REMEMBERED
Edward R. Royek, N.Ky. chiropractor for four decades
Sales manager warm, caring