2014-04-18 / Community

New NYCHA Chair Tours Rockaway

By Miriam Rosenberg


Redfern Houses TA president Glenn Collins leads NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye and Councilman Donovan Richards on a tour of the development. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Redfern Houses TA president Glenn Collins leads NYCHA chair Shola Olatoye and Councilman Donovan Richards on a tour of the development. Photo by Miriam Rosenberg Shola Olatoye, the new chair at the housing authority (NYCHA) toured Rockaway's public housing on Tuesday.

"A lot of work was started under the previous administration," Olatoye said at the tour's first stop at Redfern Houses, "But seeing it and also sharing with you where we are in the process of the capital work is important.”

Tenant Association President Glenn Collins explained some of the main problems at Redfern. He said there is still mold from Sandy in a stairwell in one building, lighting problems, doors that don't work, and keys that don't work.

"We have conditions with the buildings. Our buildings are falling apart," Collins said. "We have issues with the lighting."

He added that NYCHA officials toured six months ago but "a lot has not been addressed.... Who can tell us why nothing has been done?”

Councilman Donovan Richards, who led the tour, told The Wave about an elderly woman who was given a $50 ticket last year for sitting outside after the signed hours. "That was probably her rent money," Richards said.

Collins was promised that lighting problems would addressed within the next week. There was also discussion of working more closely with the NYPD in connection with the hours restriction for sitting outdoors within Redfern Houses.

At a stop at the Beach 41st Street Houses the concern was the Community Center now run by Department of Youth and Community Development.

"I'm distressed," Olatoye said as she saw the condition of the gym, of which the floor has been stripped to the concrete since Sandy. "I'm sorry.

This is very sad."

Olatye said once plans are approved by the city and bids are completed, entrances in lobbies of the residential buildings will be replaced. Forty security cameras are due to be installed on the buildings of Beach 41st Street Houses this year. An exterior compactor is also being put in. A new gym floor is part of Sandy money. Design for the housing complex is 75 percent done and work could begin in December or January.

Before speaking with the residents of Ocean Bay Houses, Richards took Olatoye to the corner of Beach 54th Street across the street from a deserted row of stores.

Since the fall of last year Richards has been waiting for an RFP to be released so the stores can be torn down and a new supermarket built. NYCHA, who owns the land, is waiting for Economic Development Corporation to OK the proposal.

As she looked at the lot and heard the proposal Olatoye agreed that, "It's critical. It has to happen.... It's really about getting an RFP on the street, getting the most competitive proposals back, deciding, and then getting out of the way and letting it get done." She added it's not just about possible jobs, it is also about providing fresh food. "This is basic. We can do it."

Stops were also made at Carlton Manor and Hammel Houses.

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