By PETER H. MILLIKEN
City and Mahoning County leaders and state legislators gathered to celebrate the completion of a new mixed-income affordable housing community that replaced one of the nation’s oldest public-housing projects.
The occasion was Friday’s dedication of the Village at Arlington, which replaced the last remaining section of Westlake Terrace.
The 120-apartment village, whose clubhouse is at 516 Griffith St., replaced the final 218 apartments in the 1938-vintage Westlake.
The keynote speaker for the ribbon-cutting event was former Mayor Jay Williams, who is now deputy director of the U.S. Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
“What has been undertaken here is nothing short of remarkable,” Williams said, calling the new village “a transformational project that is being discussed around this country.”
The Westlake neighborhood had developed “a reputation that was often associated with crime, drugs, disenfranchisement, despair and hopelessness,” Williams noted.
He said the new village, however, “absolutely is making a difference in the impression that people have of this city” and, more importantly, in the lives of village residents and residents of surrounding communities.
The dedication of the $13.5 million village marked the end of the 15-year process of replacing Westlake and revitalizing the neighborhood.
The replacement of the first 400 Westlake apartments with the new Arlington Heights community was completed in 2008.
That new community includes 75 rental apartments, 30 owner-occupied townhouse units, a recreation center and a park.
“This is the last leg of the redevelopment of the entire neighborhood,” said Carmelita Douglas, executive director of the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority, which owns the village. “This has been a long and arduous process, but the results are stunning.”
“As the city of Youngstown continues its revitalization and its renaissance, YMHA is a key partner to that,” said David Turner, YMHA board chairman.
“To replace one of the oldest developments in the country with modern, energy-efficient housing for residents in the city of Youngstown is a great thing,” Turner added.
Consisting of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, the Village at Arlington was built by the privately owned NRP Group LLC of Cleveland, which manages it. Its construction was funded by housing tax credits sold to investors and by the housing authority and the city.
The ceremony occurred outside the clubhouse in a large tent, whose walls flapped in the gusty winds that battered the hillside community located off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.