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Mosby Senior Apartments in good hands after $22 million investment

Photo caption: GHA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Taryl Bonds and Carolyn E. Mosby performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The 8-story, 142-unit Carolyn Mosby Senior Hi-Rise in Gary is no exception to the rule – as buildings get older they’re harder and costlier to maintain.

Mosby welcomed its first residents in 1970. Tuesday, a ribbon cutting celebrated the $22 million renovation of the building at 650 Jackson Street.

For the Gary Housing Authority, the building’s former owner, the ceremony also signals a path of recovery, to preserve public and affordable housing in the city. Mosby’s renovation marks a return to GHA’s partnerships with the private real estate market that saw the construction of Duneland Village in Miller and Horace Mann Housing in downtown Gary.

James Cunningham, Housing & Urban Development Region 5 Deputy Administrator, headquartered in Chicago, said the federal agency has an $80 billion dollar list of public housing improvement projects waiting to be funded. “We can only spend what Congress gives us,” Cunningham said.

Without improvements, Mosby Hi-Rise suffered as did other GHA properties. Over the last 5 years, GHA has demolished its 3 largest housing properties, Delaney, Dorie Miller, and Ivanhoe housing developments. Lack of improvements and poor maintenance made them undesirable housing choices.

GHA’S partnership with GormanUSA, Cunningham said, is a tool in HUD’s Repositioning Public Housing strategy. It is being used across the nation by local public housing agencies to bring in private funds instead of relying on HUD.

A year ago, the building was half full when renovations began, said property manager Melissa Clay. Residents didn’t have to move out of the building. To allow construction to begin on the top floors, Clay said, “We moved residents from the top 3 floors down to our vacant units. Once the top 3 floors were complete and inspected, we moved residents on floors 3 through 5 up. Next we started construction on those floors.” The renovations were completed throughout the building by moving tenants from lower floors to upper floors.

“We are now leasing,” Clay said. The apartments are equipped with new flooring, plumbing, kitchen and bath appliances and accessories, and air conditioning.

Ron Clewer, manager of GormanUSA’s Indiana projects said the Mosby building is no longer in the GHA inventory; it is now owned by GormanUSA. It remains a section 8 community, with rent based on 30% of the tenant’s gross annual income. Clewer said GormanUSA is looking to do other projects in the state.

Family members of the building’s namesake joined the ribbon-cutting ceremony, led by Mosby’s daughter, who also has the first name of Carolyn. Mosby said her great-grandmother was among the building’s first tenants. And it was Gary’s first building devoted to housing seniors.

Mosby was the author of Indiana’s first Minority Business legislation (Indiana Public Law 32 – 1982) which created the Governor’s Commission on Minority Business Development. She was also the original author for the state’s casino gaming legislation, with Gary being the site of Indiana’s first riverboat casino.

Following Mosby’s death in 1990 from cancer, the building known as 666 Jackson was renamed in her honor and the address changed to 650 Jackson.

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