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December 13 Hazelwood Initiative community meeting highlights | The Homepage

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

Board election results, workforce development and real estate updates

By Juliet Martinez

The former Gladstone School, a brick building with several boarded windows sits surrounded by dry grass. A rusty fence runs along a cracked sidewalk in the foreground.
Gladstone School. Photo by Heather Mull

The December meeting gave community members a chance to find out about Hazelwood Initiative’s affordable housing and real estate programs, as well as the results of the board chair election. We hope to see you at the next community meeting on January 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. (See page 2 for full details.) Make sure you are signed up for the Hazelwood Initiative weekly e-newsletter, which contains job postings and other opportunities.

Annual board election

A brown-skinned woman with stylish glasses and chin-length choppy dreads faces front but looks with a serious expression towards the left side of the frame. She wears a white, button-down shirt and holds one hand loosely closed at the level of her chin.
Current board chair Jourdan Hicks was re-elected to the board. Photo courtesy of Jourdan Hicks

Jourdan Hicks was re-elected. Board membership is a way to get involved in the neighborhood. Anyone curious about serving on the board is invited to call the Hazelwood Initiative office. Leave your information and a board member will contact you.

Board members are residents and business owners in Greater Hazelwood. Through monthly meetings, the board guides the activities of the organization, including voting on properties to be purchased and developed in order to preserve affordable housing and commercial space in the neighborhood.

Workforce development

Hazelwood Initiative Executive Director Sonya Tilghman gave an update on the workforce development aspect of the Gladstone Residences project. She said 15 people signed up for the construction training class but only eight students attended class after the first meeting. Of the remaining eight students, seven are from Hazelwood. All eight completed the nine-week course. An additional Occupational Safety and Health Administration test was offered, and some of the students completed that. So far, four students passed the course and others are expected to retake the exam.

Construction training course graduates could only start at Gladstone Residences after the remediation of the building is advanced enough to clear certain parts of the building. They are hiring now.

Project partners are contacting students to offer them work. Two of them have confirmed their interest. Ms. Tilghman said she has spoken to Partner4Work about possibly running the course again and will ask for community referrals to recruit people for future courses.

Real estate

In March, Hazelwood Initiative bought the building at 4800 Second Avenue, the home of Jozsa’s Corner, from owner Alex Bodnar in his final days. Senior Real Estate Director Dave Brewton gave an update on the 137-year-old building. It has asbestos that needs to be removed and is full of stuff that needs to be cleared out. After that, Mr. Brewton said he will come back to ask the community what to do with that property moving forward.

Hazelwood Initiative owns 68 affordable and scattered site rental housing units throughout the neighborhood. Mr. Brewton said of those, about 10 are vacant and still under construction because they were in bad condition at purchase.

Most of those rental units are occupied. Every apartment is affordable for families living on 60% or less of the area median income, but many tenants with Section 8 vouchers are living on as little as 30% of the area median income.

When finished, the Gladstone Residences will add another 43 affordable rental units and eight market rate units to the neighborhood.

Hazelwood Initiative has also sold 25 houses to first-time moderate- and low-income home buyers in six years. Four more homes are currently under construction and destined for purchase by moderate- to low-income home buyers.


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