TERRE HAUTE —
Terre Haute Housing Authority officials confirmed Thursday they expect to eventually close the Deming Center, a low-income housing facility at Sixth and Cherry streets downtown.
Tenants from the building will be moved to a new Housing Authority facility planned for a renovated Warren Elementary School on North 25th Street.
The move, expected in early 2015, is pending several interim steps, including meeting with all Deming Center tenants and renovating and upgrading the former Warren School property, said Jeff Stewart, executive director of the Housing Authority.
The renovations of Warren School, which closed in 2000, are expected to cost about $15 million, Stewart said.
There are about 109 low-income housing units in the Deming Center, a Housing Authority property. The new Warren facility, expected to be called Warren Village, will also have 109 units available for tenants, Stewart said, adding he hopes to begin meeting with Deming Center tenants within a few weeks.
The tenant meeting process, which includes informing tenants of their rights, must be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the Housing Authority, Stewart said.
Also, the Housing Authority is “exploring possibilities” for the potential sale of the Deming Center building, a eight-story structure built around 1914 as a downtown hotel.
The Housing Authority will pay to move the tenants into Warren Village, which will have larger units at the same rental rates, said Patricia Parker-Zaikovsky, chairwoman of the Housing Authority board of directors, which oversees the Housing Authority.
“They will have basically brand new everything,” Parker-Zaikovsky told the Tribune-Star on Thursday. “If they don’t want to move [to Warren Village], we will help move them someplace else.”
While change is often difficult for people, those who make the move will “probably be very glad they did,” she said.
The Housing Authority board considered renovating the Deming Center, but the options appeared too limited, Parker-Zaikovsky said. The rooms in the former hotel are small and there is no real outdoor property for tenants to utilize, she said.
“You have access to the sidewalk [at the Deming Center] and that’s about it,” she said, noting that the Warren School property allows for larger rooms, outside property use and parking.
The Housing Authority applied for tax credits through the State of Indiana and grants to pay for the move, officials said. Part of the grant approval process involved showing the new facility will improve the Warren School neighborhood, they said.
Warren Village “will be a boost to that neighborhood,” Parker-Zaikovsky said. The former Warren School is on North 25th Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues.
Still, some tenants, who include elderly and disabled residents, will probably not welcome the change, Housing Authority officials acknowledged.
The tenants form relationships and friendships and may worry those could be affected by a move, Parker-Zaikovsky said.
It is also likely folks concerned with historic buildings will take an interest in the future of the former “Hotel Deming,” the only remaining historic downtown hotel.
Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or firstname.lastname@example.org