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Housing agency to build apartments, homes

By Linda N. Weller, The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Dec. 11--ALTON -- The Alton Housing Authority Board of Commissioners approved a five-year capital fund program last week that includes converting efficiency units to one-bedroom apartments and building single-family homes.

The resolution, which the five members passed unanimously on Dec. 3, also included a one-year capital program that fits with the five-year plan. Officials will submit both program plans to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Also regarding the apartment conversion, commissioners voted to allow AHA Executive Director Andy Hightower to accept the lowest construction bid he expects to receive from four area contractors to do the work, as long as it is within budget.

AHA attorney Cliff Emons will review the contract Hightower selects.

The work will involve converting four one-room efficiency units into two one-bedroom apartments at Alton Manor housing complex at 255-257-259-261 Elm St. Hightower previously estimated the conversion would cost about $100,000.

"This will be the third building we've converted," Hightower said of the 10-building complex. "If we have capital funds, we plan to do more. They (efficiency units) are very hard to rent. Most people like one-bedroom apartments. HUD has given us permission to do this."

The difference in rent between efficiency and one-bedroom apartments is $15 per month.

Another resolution related to the work that commissioners approved gave post-facto approval for Hightower to enter into a $6,800 contract with Cenpro Services Inc. of Madison. The company was to remove 1,380 feet of asbestos-containing mastic from under floor tile in that Alton Manor building as preparation for the conversion, and dispose of the materials.

Hightower, though, said the issue was an "emergency," prompting him to move ahead with the matter before the December board meeting. The four residents of the building have been relocated, he said.

Regarding the single-family housing in the capital plan, the AHA wants to build three to five houses by Toledo Avenue, which it would manage.

At the outset of the session, Chairman Bruce Malone, Vice Chairman Mary Eckhouse and Hightower honored former Commissioner Tom Hawkins for his 16 years service on the board. After receiving his plaque, Hawkins thanked the board, Hightower and AHA staff for their cooperation.

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"Andy is an excellent executive director," Hawkins said. "We've been through some hard times, we didn't agree on everything, but we worked things out to the benefit of the Housing Authority."

Mayor Brant Walker named the Rev. Diana Williams to the board when Hawkins' term expired in October. The board also approved resolutions effecting:

--revision of the fiscal year 2012 capital fund program so as to close it out, moving $12,813 into the operations fund. Hightower will submit the adjustment to HUD.

--renewal of AHA's insurance policy with Assisted Housing Risk Management Association for seven types of coverage, at a cost of $112,581.

--OK of a $7,200 contract with Bugbusters Termite and Pest Control of Granite City for quarterly roach treatments of AHA buildings throughout 2014.

--permission for Hightower to enter into a health insurance contract with either Assurant Health or Coventry Health Care, whichever broker's bid is lowest.

lnweller@thetelegraph.com

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(c)2013 The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.)

Visit The Telegraph (Alton, Ill.) at www.thetelegraph.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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