Scheduled speakers at the press event will include Dexter Sidney, Director of HUD's Minnesota Field Office, elected officials, PHA Commissioner Marty Strub and Executive Director Jon Gutzmann, and other PHA staff and residents.
On January 23, 2013 the PHA Board of Commissioners approved a $2,464,800 contract with Crossroad Construction Inc. of Ham Lake to renovate 28 of the units. More than one-third of the money comes from a $825,000 State grant through the Minnesota Housing Agency. That grant under the "Publicly Owned Housing Program" (POHP) was funded by general obligation bonds approved by the Minnesota Legislature in 2012. The PHA will pay the balance of the contract cost with federal funds from HUD capital grants awarded in previous years. The contract includes extensive renovations inside and outside, including the following:
• Remodel all kitchens and bathrooms.
• Install all new windows to improve resident comfort and conserve energy.
• Convert to "hipped" roofs for improved drainage, easier maintenance, better insulation.
• Replace old siding on second floor.
• Make site improvements.
Following federal and state law and its own contracting policies, the PHA awards to the "lowest responsible bidder" who fully responds to all of the contract requirements. Before awarding a contract PHA staff confirm the contractors' bid amounts, qualifications, commitments to equal employment practices and subcontracting to qualified businesses owned by people who are racial minorities, women or persons with disabilities.
Capital improvements to public housing properties benefit the current and future residents, improve the community and generate economic benefits. A national study by Econsult determined that each dollar of HUD capital funding generated $2.12 in economic activity in the community, and almost 15 jobs created or supported for each $1 million construction project. (In capital improvement projects much of the money buys materials, equipment, etc.) Following that estimate, this PHA contract would support almost 35 jobs.
The PHA intends to complete this construction by the end of calendar year 2013. Some landscape work may be deferred due to weather so it is to be completed by May 31, 2014. One of the Dunedin Terrace four-plexes was modernized earlier as a prototype. The remaining 56 units will be renovated over the next several years, depending on how much money Congress approves for capital improvements in public housing each year.
Jon Gutzmann says, "Dunedin Terrace has served its residents and the community well for almost 50 years, and this major renovation work will preserve and improve the asset for future generations. The State of Minnesota's commitment to help preserve federally-funded public housing is demonstrated here. We applaud the Governor and the State Legislature for approving $5 million last year for capital improvements to public housing throughout the State. We encourage them to do more of the same this session and in the future."