Paso Robles' Oak Park redevelopment project begins

tstrickland@thetribunenews.comFebruary 6, 2013 

Apartments on 32nd Street in the Oak Park neighborhood in Paso Robles (pictured in 2010) are among those scheduled to be torn down.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

Paso Robles' Oak Park Housing Authority is currently in the process of cutting water and power to the first phase of units in its massive redevelopment project that kicks off Wednesday on the city’s west side.

The project — a decade in the making — officially breaks ground Feb. 12 and is expected to last 12 to 14 months, depending on rain, Housing Authority Director Armando Corella said. The 1940s-era low-income housing development is the largest in San Luis Obispo County, currently serving about 500 people.

The housing authority has been working for many years to prepare for the project, which will replace the neighborhood with a complex twice its size. The current site has extensive problems with old infrastructure including plumbing, rotting floors and ceilings, dated fixtures and exposed water heaters. It was originally built in 1941 as housing for families of service personnel at nearby Camp Roberts. In 1943, Oak Park was converted into low-income public housing.

Several phases of construction will complete the neighborhood's rebirth over the next five years at a total estimated cost of $95 million. Phases will be completed as funding becomes available.

About 200 jobs are being created for construction and related services during the first phase, officials said.

In all, the plan calls for tearing down 148 existing units and replacing them with a 302-unit project that also focuses on maintaining open space.

The first phase — which costs about $25 million using state and federal tax credits, construction loans and additional local, state and federal aid — will tear down 41 units. Those will then be replaced with 80 new units, including eight one-bedroom units, 44 two-bedroom units, 26 three-bedroom units and two four-bedroom units.

Families that lived in the areas affected by the first phase have been temporarily relocated and have the first rights to return when construction is complete, Corella said. Other families in existing units not yet involved in the construction are still living there.

The new complex will have low-income-based rents expected to range from approximately $700 to $1,200.

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