Dwight Gardens Shivers
by Paul Bass | Dec 17, 2013 10:45 pm
As city officials scramble to find a new buyer to rescue a crumbling former housing cooperative, a shorter-term crisis has erupted: a boiler broke.
That’s the latest twist in the ongoing saga of Dwight Gardens, the complex at 99 Edgewood Ave.
Tenants like Bobby Ewing have been without heat and hot water since a boiler broke over the weekend. The city has offered to put them up in motels. For now, Ewing said, he and the neighbors he knows have decided to stick it out. They’re showering at other tenants’ houses. And the city is promising to deliver heaters.
“Things break. There ain’t too much you can do about it,” he said Tuesday night. “The city is honestly trying to help.”
Erik Johnson, who runs government’s Liveable City Initiative (LCI) said Tuesday the city has told all affected families that they can stay at government expense at the Marriott Courtyard hotel if they choose, pending completion of repairs.
He said 13 families are affect. He said LCI, which is handling emergency maintenance on behalf of the complex’s AWOL owner, needs to “replace the vent pipe in buildings 4 and 5.” He expects the work to be done by Friday. The “pipe is wrapped in asbestos, so we have to follow correct procedures to abate conditions in advance of replacing” it, Johnson said.
In speaking about troubles about Dwight Gardens, Ewing wasn’t talking just about the boiler. He and his wife (pictured at the top of the story) have lived in one of the complex’s 80 duplexes since the complex opened in 1969 as a government-subsidized cooperative. They watched the complex thrive. Then they watched it run down amid deferred maintenance and tenant fights. They watched the tenants come tantalizingly close to paying off the mortgage, then get foreclosed on. They watched the city bring in a new owner to fix up the project; then they watched the developer walk away while the project crumbled further, with only 27 homes still occupied.
Erik Johnson has promised tenants to stay on top of emergencies like the failing boilers while also finishing a deal to bring in a new owner to make repairs, by the end of this month or next. They’ve complained to him about the boilers, among many other problems. (Click on the video to watch him address anxious tenants at a November meeting; click here to read all about that and the history of the project.) Johnson is in the late stages of helping to negotiate a sale between the current owner and Bridgeport-based Navarino Capital Management.
Previous coverage of the Dwight Co-Ops/Dwight Gardens Saga (in chronological order):
• On Verge Of A Dream, Co-op Faces Foreclosure
• City Finds Potential Buyer For Dwight Co-Op Homes
• City’s Co-op Savior Has Troubled Track Record
• Dwight Coop Rescue Advances
• Dwight Co-op Deal Squeaks Through
• Housing Authority Quits Dwight Co-Op Deal
• Dwight Co-Op Makeover In Limbo
• Day Laborers Move The “Mountain”
• City Turns Up Heat On Dwight Co-Op Landlord
• City Seeks New Buyer For Dwight Co-Ops
• 6 Vie To Buy Failed Housing Co-op
• Dwight Gardens Rescue Effort Takes New Turn
• Not So Fast! Auction’s Off
• Dwight Gardens Rescue Plan Advances
• Fed Shutdown Stalls Dwight Gardens Rescue
• Erik Johnson Races The Clock
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