Published : Monday, August 5, 2019 | 5:33 AM
The City of Pasadena has won a national merit award for its leveraging of affordable housing resources into projects that eliminate blight in the process.
The laurel comes from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO).
In granting the 2019 National Award of Merit, NAHRO cited the City’s strategy in northwest Pasadena, where nuisance liquor stores at the corner of Orange Grove Boulevard and Summit Avenue were replaced with 21 units of low- and moderate-income condominium units for first-time homebuyers.
The City joined its efforts to those of Heritage Heritage Housing Partners on the project.
In a memorandum, City Manager Steve Mermell noted that the award-winning Summit Grove project represents the second time the City has applied the award-winning strategy.
“The first project, completed in 2012,” Mermell noted, “was Washington Classics by Trademark Development located at the corner of Washington Boulevard and El Molino Avenue, which replaced a nuisance liquor store with eight first-time homebuyer units.”
Bill Huang is director of the City Department of Planning and Development, the actual award recipient.
He said the triumph is a valued-added one, because ever since former Gov. Jerry Brown (D) did away with Community Redevelopment Agencies across the state there is, well, little to know redevelopment going on.
Brown proposed the dissolution of the state’s 400-plus redevelopment agencies as part of the 2011 Budget Act. The state was in a fiscal bind at the time and the move was intended to protect core public services funding at the local level. The agencies were officially dissolved in Feb. 2012.
“Redevelopment went away,” Huang explained, “and with it funding that cities used to improve build affordable housing and improve the quality of life in low-income communities.”
He believes the same efficiency was recently applied to good effect in the Heritage Square senior housing apartments.
“They were built with a high percentage of local hires, local materials purchased, and local subcontractors,” Huang noted. “So beside providing very good green housing, which is good for the whole environment, it was very good for the local economy, too.”