Over the past few weeks, there’s been some concern expressed at community meetings and on social media regarding the Orient Heights Housing Development project.
Some have gone as far as claiming the project has undergone drastic changes to the original design, and will soon run out of money.
In response to some of the disinformation circulating around the community, Trinity Financial’s Eva Erlich said while some minor tweaks were made to the project, they were done in response to residents’ concerns at previous meetings.
“Yes, we have eliminated the 42 units of non-public ,market-rate housing that was part of the original plan, but this was after we heard concerns about increased density without a second road that would connect Valler Road and Waldemar Avenue,” said Erlich.
When the project started the cost of connecting Valler Road with Waldemar Avenue below justified connecting the two streets. With an original price tag of $3 million the cost soared to nearly $10 million after the road was studied and the soil tested. After meeting with engineers and looking at the cost so the road can meet city standards it became very expensive to make that connection from street to street.
“When we updated the community on this development in the winter, residents expressed concern that replacing the 331 units of public housing and then adding an additional 42 units of market rate housing could lead to congestion without the two roads connecting,” said Erlich. “So in response to these concerns we decided to focus on replacing the 331 units over the same land area and eliminate the market-rate component.”
Erlich said it’s actually a win for the community because Phase I, which is pretty much finished, replaced 90 units with 120 units. Phase II, which should begin in the fall on Valler Road, will add another 88 units of new public housing.
“That will leave us with only 123 units left for Phase III,” said Elrich. “We were able to add more housing units down below on Waldemar so it allows us some space to replace open space and add new open space for the community, as well as refurbishing the basketball courts and community room.”
Erlich said Trinity pointed the brand new park planned for where Valler Road meets Faywood Avenue as an example of increasing the project’s open space.
“As far as Phase I goes we completed the townhouses in February, and residents have already gotten to move into those units,” said Elrich. “As for the larger apartment building on Waldemar, we got our temporary certificate of occupancy permit this month and we are just finishing off some site work and landscaping. Residents should be moving in to that building by the end of this month.”
Erlich said Trinity will host a public meeting to update residents on the project and its progress on Wednesday, May 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Marty Pino Community Center on Boardman Street.
“Also residents can sign up online for alerts and updates on the project and any scheduled meetings,” she said.
The website to sign up for alerts can be found at [email protected]