Bidding process for public housing sewer project nears

Published 10:23 am Friday, October 7, 2022

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The bid process to find a contractor to repair the damaged sewage lines within several units in Amhurst Gardens should begin in the next four to five weeks, Public Housing Director Dr. Kim Scott told the Albemarle City Council during its meeting Monday night.

Scott and his staff have been working with Stogner Architecture in Rockingham to determine the severity of the problem and hire contractors to renovate the properties. Since 1991, Stogner has worked on 18 public housing projects within the city, according to its website.

Twenty-two units in the public housing community have been identified as having plumbing problems and will be improved, provided there is enough funding. The total represents approximately 25 to 30 families, Scott told the Stanly News & Press earlier this year, about 15 percent of the 150 units in Amhurst Gardens.

Capital funding for the public housing department for fiscal year 2022 is $724,485, with funding for 2023-2026 expected to be $578,517 each year.

The apartments most impacted will be addressed first. These are 1507, 1509 and 1446 on Inger Street, along with four units (407-413) on Griggs Street.

“Those are by far the worst, so we want to tackle those first,” Scott said.

Since the collapsed sewage pipes are not isolated to individual units, the repair project will focus on improving each damaged building.

“When we take an apartment off-line to do this, we’re going to do the entire building, not just one apartment unit,” Mayor Ronnie Michael said.

By addressing buildings instead of individual units, “we are taking care and doing it right,” Michael added. “We don’t want to piece-meal this thing, we want it done right so we’re not going to have any sewage problems after this.”

Depending on the issues the contractors discover as part of their scope of work, many of the units could also see other improvements including kitchen and bathroom renovations along with replacing kitchen appliances and flooring.

Scott said letters have been sent and phone calls have been made to individuals residing in the damaged units to make sure they are aware of the timeline for when improvements are expected to start. During a joint meeting with the council and public housing residents last month, Scott said the sewer project is projected to begin in February.

The residents in the seven units that will be addressed first will be moving into vacant properties as soon as possible. These include four burn units that will be fully refurbished by the end of the week along with two units on Griggs Street and another two on South Bell Avenue, Scott told council.

Alfreda Miller and her four children live at 1446 Inger, which Scott has identified as the unit in the worst condition, due to the toilets and bathtubs overflowing with sewage and feces every few months.

Scott told the council that Miller and her family will be moved into either the Family Life Center, which could be converted into a five-bedroom space but will take some time for it to be designated residential by HUD, or another five bedroom unit on South Bell.

If a five-bedroom space cannot be provided in a timely manner, Scott said a four bedroom unit would suffice.

Scott hopes to have the family moved into a new space within the next two weeks.

Miller spoke before Council about the conditions of her unit last month, including the presence of mold, which concerns her since her 9-year-old daughter has asthma.

“My kids shouldn’t have to live like this,” Miller said. “We shouldn’t have to live like this and be treated like this, like it’s our fault.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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