Quincy Housing Authority officials provide report on public housing stock and future needs

Frederick Ball high grass

Overgrown grass and weeds can be seen in front of the Frederick Ball Apartments, 8181 N. Eighth. | David Adam

QUINCY — Complaints on Facebook about recent failures to cut the grass around the Frederick Ball Apartments, 818 N. Eighth, spurred Quincy Housing Authority (QHA) officials to speak to the Quincy City Council about its public housing stock and its future.

Jerry Gille, executive director of the QHA, and QHA Board Chairman Rocky Murry spoke to aldermen during the public forum portion at the beginning of Monday’s meeting. Gille explained the QHA gave up site control of the property when it entered into a 2021 agreement with Brinshore Development LLC for a $17 million renovation.

“For public housing authorities to pull that kind of development off nowadays, you have to go out and partner with private entities, so that’s what we did,” Gille told aldermen. “We went after 9 percent low-income housing tax credits, and we redeveloped that site. The trade-off for that was we gave site control. We still own the land through a lease on that property. We are a very small minority owner in the ownership structure right now. At the end of the tax credit compliance period (of 15 years), the housing authority will have the opportunity to take the entire property back as the investment group will get out.”

Upon hearing reports that the grass hadn’t been cut, Gille said the QHA “put whatever pressure” it could on Brinshore.

“But we couldn’t go over and cut the grass ourselves,” Gille said.

“A lot of the community doesn’t know that the housing authority is no longer over Frederick Ball, so it’s kind of a negative knock on us,” Murry said. “We want to react as quickly as possible.”

Gille said the QHA likely will revisit working with a private entity in the future to redevelop Indian Hills, which has 200 units in the Fifth and Harrison area, as well as Lampe Hi-Rise at Fifth and Broadway and the Cherry Street Apartments at 401 Cherry. The Indian Hills apartments, like the ones at Frederick Ball, were built in the early 1940s. Lampe Hi-Rise and the Cherry Street Apartments were built in the 1960s.

Troup asked Gille if he was working on creating additional low-income housing. 

“We’re still trying to acquire land,” Gille said. “There is an effort going on between the housing authority, a developer, a couple of other groups and some area nonprofits to come up with somewhere between an acre to an acre and a half of property (for a 22-unit development). We will provide the vouchers, which will provide a 20-year rent subsidy on the property on the development, Someone else will own it. The housing authority’s not interested in owning it. Someone else would own that management. 

“I’m not sure that’s going to pan out. We’re on probably our third attempt now with different property owners.”

Gille said renovating Indian Hills is going to be difficult.

“With 200 units, it’s going to be a monster,” he said. “We just can’t keep kicking that can down the road.”

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