Galveston Moves to Fast Track the Rebuilding of Public Housing Lost To Ike

The Galveston Housing Authority is one step closer to rebuilding the hundreds of homes Hurricane Ike destroyed. The mayor is urging the city's planning department to put the redevelopment plans on the fast track. David Pitman reports.

It's been 14 months since Hurricane Ike demolished four residential developments that belong to the Galveston Housing Authority — forcing 569 families  to find other accomodations.   Harish Krishnarao is the Executive Director of the Housing Authority.  He says it's not unusual for a public housing re-building plan to take so long to win approval.

"With the going through the political process, we are talking about taxpayer funds, so this needs to be done properly, and appropriately.  In fact, if you really compare this to something that happened after Katrina, there are still families that are displaced, four years after the hurricane."

Krishnarao says Galveston mayor Lyda Ann Thomas' request for the planning department to put the plans on the fast-track could shave about three weeks off the approval process.  He anticipates groundbreaking on the first of the four rebuilt properties to happen by the middle of December.

"For the other three developments, we are expecting the construction to begin sometime... March, April of 2010."

Each development will take between 18 and 24 months to complete.  Krishnarao says the new housing will be a mix of single-family homes and apartments, with some mid-rises designed for the elderly.  The new homes will be designed to stand up to storms better than the 50- and 60-year old buildings that were lost to Ike.

David Pitman, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.
 

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David Pitman

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