A few of the 500-plus families living in the Creighton Court public housing community (Photo by Jay Paul)
Richmond has missed out on a federal grant that would have jump-started an ambitious plan to overhaul the Creighton Court public housing complex in the city’s East End.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday named five finalists from a crop of 34 applicants seeking one of three or four $30 million Choice neighborhood implementation grants. Richmond was not one of them. The news is disappointing, said T.K. Somanath, CEO of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, but it won’t stop the redevelopment effort.
“The $30 million would have given a boost and expedited the work, but now it’ll be a little longer,” Somanath said in an interview Thursday afternoon. “We have a great vision and great partners and we’ll start working with the community as we have planned to make the transformation.”
RRHA's proposal detailed a $200 million plan to tear down the 504-unit public housing community and build more than 900 new homes and apartments on its site and in the surrounding neighborhood. The project, championed by Mayor Dwight C. Jones, is intended to de-concentrate poverty in the neighborhood and create a new mixed-income community.
Winning the grant would have set the redevelopment on a five-year timeline. Now, the housing authority and next administration are staring down a decade-long process. It begins with long-delayed demolition and construction at the site of the old Armstrong High School on 31st Street, Somanath said.
If federal funding for the Choice program is available next year, RRHA will submit another application, Somanath said. In the meantime, the housing authority will review alternate financing options for the project, he added.
Read more about Creighton and the housing authority's proposal here.