SRHA receives $250K grant

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority will hold a ceremony today to receive a $255,656 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to renovate and revitalize its Cypress Manor/Parker Riddick housing communities.

Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority has received a grant of $255,656 to help jump-start its plans to renovate and revitalize its Cypress Manor and Parker Riddick housing developments and the surrounding area.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was one of 13 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants totaling $3.6 million given throughout the country to help with efforts to revitalize housing.

SRHA executive director Clarissa McAdoo said the grant will be used for planning and design for the Cypress Manor/Parker Riddick master plan.

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“It’s going to be a pretty comprehensive transformation,” McAdoo said Tuesday. “We are still basking in the glow of getting an award like this.”

The housing authority has been working on the master plan for about five years, she said. It has grown to include not only the public housing but also the nearby White Marsh Shopping Plaza, a three-acre parcel owned by the city, and a planned adjacent community by Davis Boulevard, LLC.

“This will be a mixed-use, mixed-income community,” McAdoo said.

The housing authority was one of 71 applicants for the grants and was the only organization in Virginia to receive a grant. A ceremonial check presentation will be held today at the authority headquarters on East Pinner Street.

The plan for Cypress Manor and Parker Riddick calls for renovations of most of the units, a rehabilitation plan for the shopping center to provide better job opportunities for nearby residents, and more.

Demolition of some of the units also is planned to provide for better design, McAdoo said.

Both developments were built in the late 1970s for the private market, but the developer ran into financial issues, McAdoo said. Under the leadership of George Birdsong, the housing authority acquired the buildings as the first two public housing communities in Suffolk.

“But today, they’ve become our most obsolete,” McAdoo said, adding that the townhouse design of the buildings lends itself to partial rehabilitation opportunities.

“All across the country, local planners are serious about rolling up their sleeves to transform distressed neighborhoods into choice neighborhoods,” HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said in announcing the grants. “These communities can now begin the comprehensive planning needed to turn distressed housing and long-neglected neighborhoods into viable and sustainable mixed-income communities that support positive outcome for families.”