Saturday, June 10, 2017

[San Joaquin County] ‘Huge win’: Sierra Vista funding approved

Blog note: this article references grand jury reports on the Housing Authority.
STOCKTON — Sierra Vista, the 70-year-old south Stockton public housing project that officials have for years acknowledged needs revitalization, is finally on the cusp of major improvements.
The little-known California Tax Credit Allocation Committee on Wednesday awarded $24 million in federal tax credits that will allow officials to tear down and rebuild 115 of the project’s roughly 400 units for low-income families.
“This is a huge, huge win,” said Peter Ragsdale, executive director of the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin.
“Let’s face it, we’ve got a lot of need,” he said. “We’re really excited.”
The announcement came the same day that the San Joaquin County civil grand jury released yet another report on the Housing Authority, the grand jury’s ninth investigation of that agency in the past 16 years.
Unlike years past when the morale among Housing Authority staff was described as “horrible,” leadership of the organization was in “serious conflict” and the appearance of the property itself was “atrocious,” the latest report is mostly positive.
Among other improvements, the grand jury cites the Sierra Vista redevelopment project as “one of the most ambitious in the history of the Housing Authority.” The grand jury also says that communication within the agency has improved, along with relationships with its tenants, and concludes that the agency “appears to be on a successful trajectory.”
Ragsdale said that he could not yet comment on the report, since it must be reviewed by the Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners.
The Sierra Vista project was the only one in the Central Valley to receive funding on Wednesday. The tax credits will be spread over 10 years, with additional funding from the authority to round out the total $34 million cost of the project.
Work could begin as soon as December. About 27 families will be temporarily relocated until construction is finished.
“We’re off to the races,” Ragsdale said.
June 7, 2017
Stockton Record
By Alex Breitler

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