Washington Square apartments to re-open

STEUBENVILLE – The Washington Square apartment building will re-open under a temporary management company as two organizations seek to end a funding standoff.

Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority Executive Director Joe Costantini told the JMHA board of commissioners on Wednesday that Neighborhood Development Services of Alliance has reached an agreement with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency that will see NDS hire R.L.T. Management of Columbus to temporarily oversee the leasing of apartments in the building.

“That will satisfy the OHFA’s requirement for at least 10 of the 26 apartments to be leased before they release the final funding for the building’s renovation. The management company will use our lease language and screening program for the prospective tenants,” said Costantini.

“I anticipate the funding issue will be resolved within three to six months and the JMHA will assume ownership and management of the building at that time,” said Costantini.

The JMHA previously agreed to purchase the Washington Square apartment building from NDS for $10.

During the monthly meeting, Costantini reported he still is waiting for final approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to dispose of a JMHA-owned duplex on South Fourth Street as well as two houses on Summitt Avenue and one house on Powell Avenue.

Costantini also told the board HUD has indicated JMHA will receive 94 percent of what was spent last year on the Section 8 rental voucher program.

“But what is hurting us is HUD has told us we will receive only 69 percent of what we should receive for our voucher program administration costs. We currently have a vacancy in that program that we have not filled. And we will have to watch our expenses very closely. We have a very difficult situation and we will have to deal with it,” said Costantini.

In other business Wednesday, the board approved several contract resolutions, including a $421,491 contract with Acme Brothers Construction for siding, soffit and facia work at the Earl Rodgers Plaza in Steubenville.

Board member Gerald DiLoreto voted against awarding the contract to the Leetonia company citing his preference for a local contractor.

The John Russell Co. of Steubenville was awarded a $173,982 contract for patio, fencing and lighting work at the Michael Myers Terrace complex in Toronto. And a $182 contract for repair of the trash chute compactor at the Bridgeview Apartment building in Steubenville was approved for the Fort Steuben Maintenance Co. The work will repair the trash chute compactor damaged in a January 2012 fire.

The board heard from residents in the public housing apartments in Tiltonsville and Steubenville who discussed security issues.

The board met in an executive session following the monthly meeting to discuss personnel.