Toledo City Councilman Phil Copeland, left, greets Douglas Shelby, field director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Cleveland office, at the groundbreaking of Collingwood Green.
With the rubble of the oldest public housing complex in Toledo on one side of the street, and the foundations of a brand new site rising on the other, dozens of officials gathered Wednesday morning at Division Street and Belmont Avenue in Toledo's central city for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Collingwood Green.
"This is an exciting moment that defines the future and the vision of the new Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority," said Linnie Willis, LMHA's executive director, who has spearheaded a move to replace some of the agency's oldest housing stock.
Collingwood Green is on the site of the former Albertus Brown public housing complex, which has been demolished, and adjacent to the Brand Whitlock Homes, which are being torn down. The complexes on the site were among the oldest public housing in Toledo; Brand Whitlock opened in 1938, and Albertus Brown in 1941.
Collingwood Green, already under construction, will have 65 units of senior housing when it is complete in spring, 2013. The expected cost is $12.5 million. The entire project, which will also include housing for mixed-income families, a community building offering services to residents, and a seven-acre park, is expected to cost around $46 million. It will have 272 units of housing, replacing the 400 units that had stood on the site previously.
"This is a great day of celebration as we embark on a vision for Collingwood Green," said U.S. Rep Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), who joined officials from the city, county, housing authority, and others at the event.
Toledo City Councilman Phil Copeland, who was born and raised at 436 Albertus Brown, told the dozens of people in attendance, "This means a lot to me. This is part of me," he said, gesturing to the nearby construction.
A sign board describes the building going up replacing the public housing in Toledo's central city area, now known as Collingwood Green. The area at Belmont Avenue and Division Street had been the site of Albertus Brown Homes and Brand Whitlock Homes.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the end results," said Teresa Abernathy, a former Brand Whitlock resident and former president of the Central Residents Council.
Funding for the project came from HUD funds, low-income-housing tax credit equity through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, federal funds through the city's Department of Neighborhoods, and numerous other sources.
Other officials in attendance included Mayor Mike Bell; Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak; former mayor Jack Ford; Toledo city councilman Paula Hicks-Hudson; school board member Larry Sykes; Billie Johnson, president and chief executive officer for the Area Office on Aging; Rev. James Willis, pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church; Rev. Cedric Brock, pastor of Mount Nebo Baptist Church; Rev. Robert Birt, minister of Glass City Church of Christ; Rev. Robert Lyons of Greater St. Mary Baptist Church; Rev. Otis Gordon, pastor of Warren AME Church, and Douglas Shelby, field director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Cleveland office.
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