NORTH TAMPA — Blake Barnes, sitting under a shade tree on the grounds of the new Haley Park Apartments, took a break from his adventure novel to describe what he's getting for $608 per month.
"The apartments are drop-dead gorgeous,'' said the 57-year-old disabled Army veteran, who was homeless at one time. "Each has a washer-dryer in it. Mind you, everything's brand new. The shower is big enough to have a party in there for 50 people,'' he joked. "The place is clean.''
Barnes has lived for more than a month in the new 80-unit apartment complex for low-to moderate-income residents at 13045 N 15th St. A grand opening is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday.
The 55-and-older facility offers one- and two-bedroom apartments at rates set according to each tenant's ability to pay. The complex includes a theater room, game room, handicapped-accessible pool, hair salon, library, Internet and computer room, herb and vegetable garden and dog park. Veterans were given priority in the application process.
"All the residents are here now. They're all senior citizens and they're all just beautiful people,'' Barnes said.
Federal, state, county and private sources, including the State Housing Initiative Partnership Program, Home Investments Partnership Program and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funded the project. The county paid more than $5 million of the cost.
Paula Harvey, who leads Hillsborough County's Affordable Housing Services, said the county tries to help fund at least two large housing developments per year for low-income residents.
She said some veterans who applied for Haley Park Apartments were making too much money to qualify.
"People are happy about the fact that this is a very high-quality facility,'' she said.
The apartment complex was built and is being run by Wendover Housing Partners, an Orlando developer of affordable housing projects.
Contact Philip Morgan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3435.