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A reader writes in (after the jump…) about the Brent Place apartments on 375 South Reynolds Street in Alexandria. Submit your thoughts below.
From the email:
“I would like to share with you a situation in our neighborhood, West End in the Landmark/VanDorn area, that perhaps you would be interested in bringing to light for the benefit of our community.
Brent Place located at 375 S. Reynolds St is an affordable housing building in Alexandria owned by a non-profit called Housing for America (HFA) from Annapolis, MD. The Alexandria Redevelopment Housing Authority (AHRA) assists in keeping the building financially afloat by providing low interest loans such as to replace the elevators in 2009. The building is part of an effort to keep low income people living in Alexandria. Unfortunately, the building is possibly the worst environment to raise a family in the city as it’s akin to a high rise ghetto. So much so the Alexandria Police has a post inside the building. This speaks volumes of the behavior exhibited by some of the residents. The residents’ behavior can at times spill over onto the street, whether it’s an altercation, what sometimes appears to be drug dealing, or just plain loitering. Never mind the constant calls to Fire Rescue, which is draining city coffers at a higher rate than the rest of the b lock of high rises. Whether it’s someone pulling the fire alarm to actual emergencies day or night, one can always guarantee that Alexandria Fire Rescue will soon pay a visit. The place is far from being a residential sanctuary, which is what most people would consider their homes to be regardless of income. The City of Alexandria and HFA should come to the realization that while the intent to keep affordable housing available in Alexandria is a noble and worthwhile effort, having a high concentration of low income families in a high rise building is not a good idea. Integrating the low income population more evenly throughout the area would avoid the perpetuation of neighborhood blight. The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) tried this method with the Cabrini Green complex and it failed miserably. Cabrini Green was eventually torn down as a failed public housing project which may be the best outcome for Brent Place. The Van Dorn/Landmark Corridor Plan which aims to redevelop the area should be reconsidered to add the redeveloping of Brent Place. Perhaps tearing it down and allowing a private developer to build a mixed use complex, which is more appropriate to the revitalization efforts proposed by the city.”
What are your thoughts? Discuss below…