By SEAN BARRON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Within the next few weeks, a section of Wirt Street on the city's North Side could start receiving a face-lift.
Board members discussed at Thursday's Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority meeting 30 homeowner units that are slated to be built near the Westlake housing project. They will be part of Arlington Heights, a new section that will replace 289 units at Westlake that were demolished, said Eugenia C. Atkinson, MHA's executive director.
Construction of the units could get under way later this summer, Atkinson said. Forty additional units for senior citizens near the site are occupied, she said.
Atkinson didn't provide cost estimates, but said funding sources will be from a $19.7 million HOPE VI Housing and Urban Development grant as well as around $600,000 in low-income tax credits.
A $537,000 Replacement Housing Factor grant will be one funding source for building an additional 32 housing units near Arlington Heights, Atkinson said. Work on that project could begin later this summer, she added.
In an effort to improve occupancy rates at Brier Hill, Norton Manor and a few other sites, MHA is working with Sabre Facilities Management of New Castle, Pa. The idea is to provide additional training for maintenance staff "to help us become more efficient" in getting units ready for tenants more quickly and effectively, Atkinson said.
Norton Manor on Youngstown's East Side has 143 units, 77 of which are rented. Around 107 of Brier Hill's 199 units are filled, Atkinson said.
The 711 connector project has impacted Brier Hill by making it less accessible, she added.
In other business, Mayor George McKelvey swore in Kathy Kirtos as the newest board member. Kirtos replaced Mary O. Dennis, who was appointed in March 2000 and whose term ended in November.
Kirtos is a claims representative for Westfield Insurance of Boardman and a North Side resident. She graduated from Youngstown State University in 1992 with a degree in accounting.