Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 6, 2009

Before the owners of Parkside Commons received 23 million dollars of federal stimulus money to be used for "energy efficiency measures throughout the buildings, which include new, more energy-efficient windows and heating equipment" and "working on the elevators, modernizing them" (Post-Standard, April 6, 2009),

before Interstate Management Company spent 2.6 million dollars for renovations such as "install[ing] new controls for energy savings" and "inspecting and repairing elevators" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, February 19, 1992),

before changing the name of the complex to "Rolling Green Estates" and "Sunset Terrace" in order to give a more "uplifting" image to the buildings (Post Standard, October 4, 1991),

before Hilltop housing was the first HUD project in the nation to go bankrupt,

before HUD officials criticized Hilltop for having too many administrative employees and too little supervision of contractors such as security and janitorial services (Syracuse Herald-American, February 18, 1990),

before Syracuse Housing Authority executive director Frederick Murphy stated the city's role with Hilltop was "more of an overseer and some kind of presence...making sure the books are kept reasonably, if not totally accurately," (Syracuse Herald-American, December 31, 1989)

before Murphy said Hilltop was one "of the dinosaurs that's still in the community. They're no longer marketable. Nobody wants to live in them. Nobody really wants to manage them. Really, quite honestly, everybody is struggling to find a peaceful way for them to die. You pull the plug and you let them die" (Syracuse Herald-American, December 31, 1989),

before State Senator Nancy Larraine Hoffman proclaimed "From my perspective, I think the management [at Hilltop] has done an excellent job at trying to create a secure environment" (Post-Standard, April 6, 1985),

before the Syracuse Common Council voted 6-2 in favor of refunding $183,000 to the MB Group--more than twenty percent of the purchase price from the city two years earlier-- because their renovations had run into "substantial cost overruns" of 1.1 million dollars (Post-Standard, June 29, 1982),

before Syracuse city councilors told the MB Group representatives that they had failed to demonstrate why it would be in the city's interest to return the money, with Common Councilor Joseph Nicoletti, the chairman of the Housing and Real Estate committee telling MB Group "You are a developer and come in and take chances that you will either make a profit or take a loss...Why should this council go on and reduce your price? What benefit is it to the city?" (Post-Standard, April 26, 1982),

before the MB Group went to the Common Council two years after it purchased Hilltop from the city of Syracuse and demanded a rebate of $183,000 or threatened that renovations would not be completed,

before the MB Group and Syracuse Police Department decided that the best way to combat crime at Hilltop would be to train 18 residents for eight weeks to work as civilian security guards and police the complex themselves (Syracuse Herald-American, December 7, 1980),

before City Councilor Nancy Larraine Hoffman said that the MB Group's rehabilitation of Salt City Homes and Eastview [formerly Fayette Arms] Apartments "will serve as an economic anchor to the entire lower Salt Springs neighborhood development" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, June 24, 1980),

before City Councilor Nancy Larraine Hoffman said Salt City Homes "is like a prison. It's a terrifying place" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, January 18, 1980),

before Mayor Lee Alexander proclaimed the sale of Salt City Homes and Eastview Apartments to the MB Group "will bring new life to one of the city's key residential areas and will make it a more attractive, inviting place to live" (Post-Standard, September 6, 1979),

before the MB Group was selected as the buyer of the complex (after interviews with 11 interested developers) because of the firm's "outstanding design plan and excellent track record in management of low- and middle-income housing developments throughout the northeast (Post-Standard, September 6, 1979),

before aide to Mayor Lee Alexander, Elliott Jacobson, toured Salt City Homes and stated tenant "complaints are exaggerated and the Syracuse Housing Authority is doing a good job as far as I am concerned," noting "Sure there was graffiti written on some walls, and black charred marks around an incinerator door, but I don't consider these emergency things in need of repair immediately" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, December 4, 1976),

before the Fayette Arms went into foreclosure and was taken over by HUD (Post-Standard, January 8, 1975),

before The Salt Springs-Fayette Merchants and Residents Association appealed to the City Council for a share of $11.8 million in federal community development funds "to help prevent an area from becoming a blighted, run-down, boarded-up area" (Post-Standard, December 17, 1974),

before near East Side residents voiced their concerns about the deterioration of the area, questioning why they would want to ask for some funds from an $11.8 million federal grant for neighborhood improvement when they felt "the best improvement that could be made in the Salt City area was tearing down as many of the public housing buildings as possible" (Post-Standard, October 30, 1974),

before the Fayette Arms Apartment complex, a low income housing project built by the Truck Drivers Local 317 Housing Corporation of Syracuse opened at the 1800 and 1900 blocks of East Fayette Street, on a site where the city once planned to built an additional 124 units of Salt City Homes (Syracuse Herald-Journal, November 7, 1967)

before Mrs. Clayton Dawson of Syracuse wrote to the Syracuse Herald-American stating she was "getting tired of reading that the Community in Action program is stirring up trouble in Salt City homes and elsewhere...Many neighborhoods in the city have neighborhood organizations to defend their interests. The fact that the neighborhoods being organized by the Community in Action personnel have not had organizations before now, with such a history of empty promises from city hall, is proof enough for me that outside help is needed" (Syracuse Herald-American, August 1, 1965),

before Syracuse Herald-Journal editorial writers declared "rents shouldn't be raised solely to supply a service that's usually available to apartment house dwellers whether the individual providing the service wears the attire of a doorman or a building superintendent or the uniform of a private security agency" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, June 20, 1965),

before the city of Syracuse decided it would hire one security guard to patrol Salt City Homes from 7pm to 4am daily, with the "tenants' rents... upped a hair to pay for it" (Post-Standard, June 29, 1965),

before W.J. Miller of Syracuse wrote the Post-Standard stating "this morning's editorial concerning the so-called "vigilante" group at the Salt City Homes housing project should be compared to earlier editorials of yours in the past year or so complaining of the inaction of citizens in the face of criminal activity in our cities...Having no other source of information but what I read in your newspaper, it looks to me like the men you call "vigilantes" simply did what every citizen is supposed to do in the face of a situation which appears to be a criminal act: they hold the apparent violators until the police could get to the scene and then let the police take over as is their duty...You can't have it both ways, Mr. Editor. Either citizens are supposed to pay attention to what goes on around them and do their part to stop crime, or they are supposed lo ignore it. Which do you support?" (Post-Standard, June 24, 1965),

before the Post-Standard editorial writers claimed "the vigilantes have not disbanded, and once more it is necessary to call attention to what is behind this situation: Public housing tenants under the prodding of Community Action Program administrators are carrying on a campaign of harassment against the Syracuse Housing Authority. The program is administered through Syracuse University's School of Social Work with $314,000 worth of federal anti-poverty other words, our tax dollars, to put it bluntly, is being used to enable disgruntled tenants in public housing projects to organize programs of protest...Why? That's a good question. Is it because housing conditions are so intolerable that people must rise up and agitate against the government? Nonsense! There isn't a single housing development, public or private, that doesn't have some problems and irritations, but by and large the situation in public units is satisfactory — and the price is right." (Post-Standard, June 18, 1965),

before Post-Standard editorial writers stated "No one argues with the merits of providing more of the good things in life to the poverty - stricken, but in Syracuse we have seen evidence that the war against poverty has been corrupted into class conflict—an unvarnished battle for power. The latest evidence seems to be this vigilante business...The vigilantes say that Salt City Homes should have two security guards.They complain there's only one. This is a pretty thin excuse for 10 men to usurp the prerogatives of the police. Let's have an end to this...And if any public funds—federal or otherwise—are being used for purposes of organized harassment and power disputes in the classic tradition of Marxism, let's have an end to this, too" (Post-Standard, June 16, 1965),

before a group of ten residents of Salt City Homes decided to patrol the grounds with nightsticks and helmets during evening hours because not only was there no security guard, but there was no building superintendent living in the housing project, unlike every other apartment complex in Syracuse (Post-Standard, June 15, 1965),

before a real estate broker said the selected site for the new 124 homes was ideal because it "had had "for sale" signs on it for many years without attracting any interest...much of the property, especially along E, Fayette St., has been tax delinquent and is not suited to construction of private homes because of the hilly terrain" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, June 6, 1957),

before another resident named Ruth Johnson wrote to the Post-Standard and said that she did not share the same opinions as the other Ruth Johnson, save for the "janitors being courteous" (Post-Standard, June 4, 1957),

before Ruth Johnson, resident of Salt City Homes, wrote a letter to the Post-Standard after she had "just read your article in the May 21 issue and certainly am disgusted. Talk about "biting the hand that feeds you!" Maybe these people complaining about having to keep their halls clean should move somewhere like the Skyline where they can be waited on hand and foot (Let them try paying that rent). I don't believe cleaning a hall ever hurt anyone. If they lived in a private home, would they just let the dirt accumulate?... I for one am very thankful to have such a good place to live as Salt City Homes. It's clean and light and has been a godsend to my children and myself, I would gladly clean four halls to live here...Please don't give all of us the reputation of being ungrateful just because of a few people who want everything for practically nothing. Most of us are clean and decent people" (Post-Standard, May 27, 1957),

before Syracuse Housing Authority Executive Director William McGarry said "that all public housing projects in Syracuse have a constant rodent control program, that the Housing Authority is not responsible for providing playground equipment and that the very nature of low rent public housing negates custodial services on a par 'with those of the Skyline' (Post-Standard, May 21, 1957),

before Salt City Homes resident John Tavern escorted a Post-Standard reporter and photographer of the grounds, pointing out deep holes at the entrance of the building he occupied, there because "the Syracuse Housing Authority doesn't provide any playground equipment here so the kids dig holes and play in them" (Post-Standard, May 21, 1957),

before residents of Salt City Homes questioned how the Syracuse Housing Authority could build an additional 124 units when they could not properly maintain the current apartments,

before the Syracuse Housing Authority announced its plans to construct 124 new units of public housing on a site bounded by Westmoreland Ave. on the east, and lying between Erie Boulevard East and East Fayette Street (Post-Standard, May 12, 1957),

before Syracuse Housing Authority Executive Director McGarry said the number of large rental units in the city had been shrinking for years because few two and three-family dwelling units had been constructed during the postwar period due to lack of profitability, "normal expansion of churches, schools, private businesses resulted in demolition of many old-style two and three family homes," and "sub-standard multiple units have been removed through demolition ordered by the city in its slum clearance and urban renewal program" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, August 12, 1956),

before city relocation director Robert Hale said "the lack, of large units in good or fair neighborhoods is forcing families with good social habits into accepting accommodations in sub-standard or blighted areas, thereby compounding slum conditions in the area and enhancing the possibilities for delinquency among children" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, August 12, 1956),

before Vice Chairman of the Syracuse Housing Authority Florence Kemp pleaded that no more construction of one-bedroom public housing apartments was necessary and that she had "had difficulty filling existing one-bedroom apartments in James Geddes Homes," then under construction (Post-Standard, October 5, 1955),

before the Syracuse Housing Authority came out publicly against the City Planning Commission's proposal to build more high rise housing at four "scattered sites" throughout the city to to deal with the "slum clearance program" of the 15th Ward (Post-Standard, October 5, 1955),

before Syracuse Housing Authority Executive Director McGarry declared "there is no need for another public housing project in Syracuse as public housing is now constituted...the 1,422 units in four projects here can take care of the normal turnover of low-income families" and then clarified "he meant any new housing project must be tied to a human rehabilitation program" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, December 17, 1954),

before Florence Kemp, vice chairman of the Housing Authority, stated "Managers of our existing projects [Salt City Homes] know that the present proposal will be a $6,500,000 tragedy and disappointment if we build a project of six or eight story structures in the hopes that it will solve the social problems of the 15th Ward" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, December 17, 1954),

before Richard H. Amberg, publisher of the Post-Standard, said he supported a 6.5 million dollar state-aided program to build more public housing for residents of the 15th Ward because "'These people have no alternative but to live in the 15th Ward. They can't go to places outside the city'...that it would not be possible to 'change the attitude of the people out there in your lifetime or mine. The best we can do is to improve what we have.'" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, December 17, 1954),

before Mrs. John Schannel, resident of Salt City Homes, wrote the Post-Standard and asked why there was no crossing guard provided for the 300-plus children who lived in Salt City Homes and crossed busy Westmoreland Avenue on their way to school (Post-Standard, November 3, 1954),

before residents of Salt City Homes signed a petition requesting for the city to please install a traffic light at the corner of Westmoreland Avenue and East Fayette Street, as well as a crossing guard for the fifty children who had to cross the street daily to school (Post-Standard, August 26, 1952),

before a Post-Standard editorial asked for the city to install a traffic light at the corner of East Fayette and Croly Street, as there had been a number of near accidents of children getting run over by cars as they left Salt City Homes (Post-Standard, June 2, 1950),

before cars lined the streets surrounding the Salt City Homes complex, because it was built without parking lots (Post-Standard, June 2, 1950),

before all the apartments in Salt City Homes were occupied (Post-Standard, January 14, 1950),

before the first twenty-nine families moved in and found "shiny new four-burner gas stoves and refrigerators" along with "deep sinks, since the building has no laundry room" (Syracuse Herald-Journal, October 9, 1949),

before more than 300 families and individuals applied for the 213 available Salt City Homes apartments on the first day applications could be made to the Syracuse Housing Authority (Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 7, 1949),

the Post-Standard published an editorial:

Housing Might Add to Values
We do not believe that placing the projected state housing on an E. Fayette St. site would depreciate other housing in the section.

In fact, from what we have seen of housing of the type, it ought to add to property values.

It will be remembered that Gov. Dewey, while here during the political campaign, promised that the housing would have, its own courts and playgrounds and would be developed to add to the beauty of the city, not detract from it.

The area picked for it is now a waste, with few houses on it and a garage or two scattered here and there in the area. It would seem that attractive steel and brick apartment housing units would be an acceptable addition to the neighborhood. The plans and specifications, when available, will tell us more about it. (November 30, 1946).


JoeBass123 said...

wow. that post really puts it into perspective. i knew very little about the parkside commons prior to reading this, but there's essentially all of the details in black and white. not only that, but it all points to the much bigger issues as well: classism, racism, urban renewal, city planning, government spending, government responsibility, landlord responsibilities, tenant rights, and on and on...

it pretty much sums up everything that has been wrong with syracuse since the end of ww2.

thank you for posting this.

NYCO said...

Just brilliant.

AJ Mack said...

Very nicely done!!!! Thanks for putting that all together.