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Berg Contract Set for Aug. 7 Signing

After more than a decade of fitful starts, stops and delays, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) announced Monday night a contract will be signed on Aug. 7, to officially initiate redevelopment of "The Berg."

ARHA executive director William Dearman told the ARHA commissioners, "We have met with Eakin/Youngentob concerning the contract for purchase, sales and construction, and we are very close to having everything worked out." He then requested approval of a special board meeting to "close on the contract."

It was also announced that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the official groundbreaking ceremonies for the project, known as Samuel Madden Homes (Downtown), will be held Sept. 9. ARHA chairman A. Melvin Miller instructed staff to "make sure everyone who has ever been involved with this project get an invitation, including all previous commissioners."

Miller urged the board to carefully read the contract documents to be signed Aug. 7. There was a lot of negotiating involved with the developer. Of all the developments I've seen in the nation, this is the most complex I have ever seen."

Miller clarified to his fellow commissioners, "The attorneys will be here that night to answer any questions you might have about details in the contract." The meeting will be held at Ladrey High-Rise beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Dearman further explained, "This contract will be approved subject to final approval by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)." The special meeting of the commission was necessitated by the HUD timetable, according to Dearman.

IN OTHER ACTION:

* Miller announced that the board's newest appointee, Linda D. Cheatham, had been officially approved. She replaces Antoine P. Cobb who recently moved from the area. He also acknowledged that a new Alexandria Resident Council (ARC) representative has not been appointed because no one has been recommended to City Council. "ARC has to recommend someone to fill their vacancy on the board," Miller explained.

* The board approved revised language to the Assisted Units Owner Entity Option Agreement in order to protect ARHA interests and extend the expiration date from July 31 to Dec. 31, 2003. This agreement pertains to tax credits for Mid-City Urban, the component developer, and their property options.

* New policies addressing flextime and children in the office were adopted unanimously by consent. The flextime policy now permits ARHA employees to work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The normal work week will remain 40 hours with a potential day off during the week to compensate for any Saturday work schedules.

As for children in the various ARHA work places, the board approved Dearman's recommendation that "in general, the children of employees should not be present in the office."

Where necessary exceptions occur, permission must be secured from a supervisor. "If such permission is granted, the child must not interrupt or interfere with the work of other employees and must stay with/or under the control of the employee at all times," Dearman stressed in his advisory to the board.