BROOKSVILLE — For years, the troubled, cash-strapped Brooksville Housing Authority has struggled to maintain its two aging apartment complexes. Now, the time has come to demolish the complexes and get residents into better homes, housing board members say.
The board recently took the first step toward submitting a plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to raze Summit Villas and Hillside Estates. If the plan is approved, residents would likely receive vouchers to move into Section 8 housing elsewhere in the county, housing board chairman Randy Woodruff said.
The board voted unanimously this summer to hire Smart Inc., a consultant firm, to handle the demolition application process.
"This is actually going to be beneficial for residents down there," Woodruff said. "They're probably all going to get a step up in terms of the standard of living."
HUD is aware of the authority's plans, department spokeswoman Gloria Shanahan said.
"The Housing Authority is analyzing if it is feasible to submit an application," Shanahan said. "That analysis includes meeting with the residents and developing a relocation plan that needs to be submitted with the application."
Two resident meetings are slated for Wednesday. A Smart, Inc. representative will be on hand to discuss the plan. The first is at noon at Summit Villas community center, 520 W Dr. M.L. King Jr. Blvd. The second is at 6 p.m. at the Hillside Estates office, 800 Continental Drive.
A recent engineering study put the cost to rehabilitate the two complexes, built in the 1970s, at a little more than $17 million.
It doesn't make sense to put that much money into such old buildings, said board member Gary Schraut. "I really believe we can do better for these folks," he said.
If HUD approves the demolition plan, it could take two years before relocation would begin, said Tommy Brooks, the housing authority's executive director.
Residents already are worried about the move and are uniting, said Paul Boston, a community activist from Brooksville.
Boston has organized a rally for 6 tonight at Fredrick Kelly Elks Lodge, 510 E Dr. M.L. King Jr. Blvd.