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Housing authority: Urban renewal project makes headway

Housing authority: Urban renewal project makes headway

July 18th, 2018 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

101 Jackson Street

Photo by Shelby Kardell /News Tribune.

The Jefferson City Housing Authority is pleased with the outcome of the East Capitol Avenue urban renewal rehabilitation agreements and improvements made to homes in the area, Executive Director Cynthia Quetsch said Tuesday.

Within the last month, the city and Housing Authority followed up with the four remaining property owners who signed rehabilitation agreements. All but one of the property owners met the criteria of the agreements, Quetsch said during Tuesday's Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meeting.

The Housing Authority anticipates Wayne Phillips, owner of 600 E. State St., will request an extension to make final improvements to his property. Quetsch said Phillips has made most of the exterior improvements to the East State Street home but has some interior improvements left to make. Issues with past tenants, Quetsch added, have made it difficult for Phillips to complete some of the work.

The Housing Authority Board of Commissioners granted Phillips an extension last November.

Last year, the Housing Authority sent letters to property owners in the East Capitol Avenue urban renewal area who stated the property owners could either sign a rehabilitation agreement and improve their homes or risk condemnation by the city.

While not all property owners signed the agreements, those who did and those who did not sign have been fixing up their properties, Quetsch said.

Overall, Quetsch said, the rehabilitation agreements have been successful.

"Obviously there are many properties boarded up, but I think we're moving forward," she said.

The area was declared blighted in 2016 because of deteriorating conditions of some properties and due to the number of abandoned properties in the neighborhood.

Holly Stitt, co-owner of Avenue HQ on East Capitol Avenue, said she thinks the changes to the area are great.

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"I think from the time I bought the building in 2012 to now it's great just showing off what we've done and what the city has done and what the Housing Authority is doing," she said.

The Housing Authority continues to work toward condemning a couple of properties in the area. It filed a civil suit in August against Barbara Buescher, who owns 101 and 105 Jackson St., and Stephen and Cheryl Bratten, who used to own 103 Jackson St.

The Housing Authority took possession of 103 Jackson St. last May after the Brattens voluntarily relinquished it.

A hearing regarding the condemnation suit is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Cole County Courthouse.