Ward 3 City Councilor-elect Angela Plassmann sent the following letter to Housing Authority Director Jonathan Hite on November 16. She awaits his reply.
Dear Mr. Hite:
Thank you for your letter dated October 3, 2009 regarding concerns I expressed about conditions at the Walter Salvo House during my campaign for Ward 3 City Councilor. I now look forward to addressing the residents’ concerns as their next councilor.
I attended the November tenant meeting and observed firsthand some of the maintenance issues that the residents had brought to my attention. Please note the following complaints and/or requests for improvements, as relayed to me by the residents:
- Many of the interior walls throughout the building have signs of wear, including holes, stains, holes that were improperly repaired, etc. Many of the corridors and hallways are in urgent need of maintenance such as patching of the walls and fresh paint in an appropriate color.
- Areas of water damage in several locations are in need of repair. In one area, located in the main meeting room, there are ceiling tiles missing and various pipes and wires are clearly visible. Some residents have reported water damage on the ceilings of their apartments that has not been repaired in years, despite repeated requests to Housing Authority staff.
- Water stains on walls from past sewage problems.
- Several of the residents have told me that they would like to see the meeting room updated, including the furniture (which is patched with duct tape) and a new, larger television (as promised some time ago) so the room can better meet the needs of the residents. It seems clear that a larger television, one appropriate for a community room, should be purchased. I would like to discuss the size of the television prior to its purchase.
- The general maintenance of apartments including paint, doors, windows, floors, etc. is of concern. Residents are frustrated with the process in place and the costs they must pay. I understand that the residents are being charged a fee when a call for maintenance is requested. I’d like to discuss this with you.
- Concerns regarding snow removal on the sidewalk and crosswalk for safety reasons.
- Crosswalk/pedestrian safety issues for individuals attempting to cross Conz Street. I’d like to discuss traffic calming measures, signage and a crosswalk light with you.
- Issue with non-residents walking their dogs along the back of the property and failing to clean up after their pets.
- Lack of adequate laundry facilities at both the Walter Salvo House and the Cahill Apartments.
- General lack of cleanliness of passageways and common areas for both the Walter Salvo House and the Cahill Apartments.
- Lack of response to residents’ requests for transfers to other buildings and/or floors for medical issues exacerbated by conditions of individual units.
- I am told there is an individual living in the woods along the rear parking area of the Walter Salvo House who has created a public nuisance for the residents. Please let me know if this area is City property so that I may discuss this with the Police Department. If it is not City property, I would like to discuss the matter with the deeded landowner to address the complaint.
I would like to be advised of the current routine maintenance schedule at Salvo and Cahill as well as the procedure to respond to service requests.
Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience. I would like to be able to tell the tenants at their December meeting how we will go about resolving their open issues. I will call you next week to follow up.
Ward 3 City Councilor-Elect
Northampton Media: “Ward Three Councilor-Elect Angela Plassmann Takes on the Housing Authority”
December 12: Meet Incoming Ward 3 Councilor Angela Plassmann at Office Hours
“I’m holding my first office hours on Saturday, December 12, from 10am to 1pm at the Walter Salvo House (81 Conz Street). Please drop by to share your questions and concerns. We’ll be meeting in the first floor office. It’s on the right just after you walk in the front door. Anyone may attend, whether or not you live in Salvo House.”