Council backs senior apartments

WARREN – Despite qualms from some residents, City Council voted 9-0 Wednesday to support a proposed 60-unit senior apartment complex planned for 2501 Parkman Road, next to the Trumbull Plaza.

Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority requested and received a resolution of support from the city to be sent to the Ohio Finance Housing Authority as part of its application for tax credits. The complex, if approved, would replace 135 apartments units at TMHA’s Riverside apartments on Tod Avenue.

TMHA representatives said they are competing with 25 to 30 other organizations for the tax credits. It will not be able to build the $12.9 million project without the tax credits.

The site belongs to the Warren City School District. TMHA offered to purchase the land for $240,000 in November 2011. The school district paid $475,000 for it in 2004. The sale is contingent on whether TMHA is able to secure a tax credit from the state for the project.

Some residents expressed concern about who will be able to move into the senior housing project, because there are some residents living at the Riverside Apartments on Tod Avenue, which also is a senior complex, who are younger than 55.

Donald W. Emerson Jr., executive director of TMHA, emphasized the Riverside apartments are categorized for people who are both senior citizens – 55 and older – and for handicapped individuals.

“We attempted to keep them for seniors, but we could not find enough people to fill the apartments, so we had to provide for the disabled,” Emerson said.

The proposed Parkman Road apartment is strictly for seniors. No one younger than 55 will be allowed to rent the apartments.

Annette McCoy, an Arthur Drive resident, criticized the council for not informing north side residents about the project. McCoy said there has not been enough transparency in discussing the project.

“I do not have confidence in council about this project,” McCoy said.

Comparing this project to the controversial senior housing project that was proposed to be placed on North Road last year, McCoy said the residents living near the Parkman Road site deserve being provided information about this project.

Clyde Wilson, a Regal Drive resident, expressed concern about what is being brought into his neighborhood.

“Information was never communicated to residents of the ward,” Wilson said. “We were not aware or we would have spoke up earlier.”

On the other side, resident Gayle Ferguson expressed support for the project.

“The seniors who will be living there will be able to walk from their apartments to the Big K and the other stores in the (Trumbull) plaza,” she said.

Councilman Eddie Colbert, D-7th Ward, said in support of the project that he visited a similar TMHA project in Girard and found that no one had complaints about it.

“I believe this will be a good project for the city and a good project for the neighborhood,” Colbert said. “I live behind the area where this will be built. I have a wife and two young children. I would not support this if I had concerns about their safety.”