Residents protest plans on housing
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2010
6/10/10 at 3:48 AM
Angry and upset residents of the White City neighborhood packed the City Council chambers Wednesday night during an informational meeting on the Hudson Villas.
The planned $6 million apartment complex at 11th Street and Hudson Avenue will be run by the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless and will provide supportive housing to formerly homeless people.
"We are not moving the day center to 11th and Hudson," said Sandra Lewis, the day center's executive director. "We are trying to provide affordable housing to those who need it."
Construction on the 60-unit complex is expected to begin late this year and be completed by mid-2012.
A similar meeting was scheduled for last week, but it was canceled because of an angry response from some of the neighborhood residents.
Residents are especially upset because the controversial Yale Avenue Apartments opened at 4650 E. Admiral Place, near the neighborhood, just five months ago.
State Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, received loud applause when he said the residents aren't against helping the homeless; they just feel they're not being respected.
"You could not have picked a worse spot," he said, adding that the complex will bring the neighborhood's number of housing units for formerly homeless residents to 130.
"At best it was not well thought out," Proctor said. "At worst it was reckless."
J.J. Jorishie, who has lived in the area all his life, said White City is a gem within Tulsa.
The White City neighborhood, established around 1930, is between Interstate 244 and 11th Street and from Yale Avenue to just west of Hudson Avenue.
"I've seen this area prosper, fall and get on track to come back," he said. "We have children. I'm not saying it's going to be unsafe, but it only takes one kid molested, beat up, robbed or killed, and then where are we?"
He added that he was upset that the Day Center didn't make its apartments proposal public earlier in the planning process.
"I just feel bamboozled. This is just a show. They're going to do what they want to do as they do it," he said. "We already have one in our neighborhood, and we're fine with it. We don't need another one."
The Yale Avenue Apartments, at Yale and Admiral, has 66 efficiency units and 10 one-bedroom apartments and is run by the Mental Health Association in Tulsa. Residents pay $300 to $350 a month for an efficiency, and the one-bedroom units rent for $514.
Who Owns Tulsa, a grassroots organization, argued for several months in 2008 that the neighborhood was left out of the planning process and that the apartments would devalue area homes.
David Poarch, a Day Center board member, said he realized that the board was "opening a can of worms" when choosing the 11th and Hudson location for the new apartments.
"When we started looking at where to build, we looked all over the city," he said. "You might not believe it's not a conspiracy, (but) this was the best fit."
Poarch said studies have shown that similar projects have led to a reduction in crime and an increase in surrounding property values.
Mike Averill 581-8489
Tulsa resident Warren Jaggers makes comments during a meeting Wednesday at the Tulsa City Council chambers regarding the Hudson Villas. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World