Bradford pear blooms in North Side
CITYSCAPE // New owners are promising major changes for Midlothian Village, a 47-year-old Section 8 housing complex in South Side, where residents have suffered from high rates of crime and decay in the buildings.
Community Preservation Partners, in partnership with The Hampstead Companies, bought the 217-unit complex for $17.5 million, or about $81,000 a unit. The complex last month has been renamed The Belt Atlantic, and $9.7 million is been allocated to refurbish the units, or about $44,700 per unit, to provide new appliances, update kitchens and bathrooms, improve interior lighting and upgrade entry doors. The companies also plan to install external security systems in the form of cameras, perimeter fencing and gates with access limits.
CITYSCAPE // The Belt Atlantic is one of several large, affordable housing community to be sold recently. In October, a Baltimore firm paid $42.5 million to purchase the problem-plagued 496-unit Essex Village complex in Henrico County. That firm has promised to upgrade that Section 8 community, which Henrico County labeled its “worst” apartment community.
Section 8 community means that the federal government provides subsidies to the owners to maintain the apartment units for people with limited incomes and to keep rents down.
Better health //
Elijah Kersey, 5, squeezes a pliable figure of a sumo wrestler as he visits with Jaquelle Scott at the Second Chances Comprehensive Services booth last Saturday at the annual Virginia Commonwealth University Wellness Block Party. The event, held at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in the East End, offered health screenings, information and consultations with health professionals. It was the 11th year for the community event put on by VCU students with the assistance of physicians and community organizations. Second Chances provides mental health counseling for youths and adults, case management and links to other community resources.
A chain catshark checks out its new home at the Robins Nature & Visitor Center at Maymont.
Shark! // It was one of a pair of catsharks — along with 10 shark embryos still in their egg sacs, called “mermaid’s purses” — that were introduced to the public on March 22. The sharks, known for their striking patterned coloration, rarely grow to more than 18 inches. They are native to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean along the Virginia coast. The new additions will be used in Maymont’s lessons by environmental educators on animal adaptations in the James River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.