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Central Los Angeles

Long-Delayed Street Repairs Begin at Nickerson Gardens

January 17, 1997|MAKI BECKER

For years, the residents of the Nickerson Gardens housing project in Watts complained about the terrible condition of their streets.

"On 115th Street, there was a pothole so big a child could stand in it and you couldn't see him," said Nora King, president of the Nickerson Gardens Resident Management Corp.

But on Thursday, bulldozers and construction workers arrived on Antwerp Street between 111th and 112th streets to begin repairing potholes and resurfacing the long-neglected roadways within the housing project.

The reason the potholes that pockmark the streets within Nickerson Gardens were never properly repaired in the 42 years of the housing project's existence was because the authorities could not agree on who was responsible.

The federal Housing and Urban Development Department, which provides most of the funding for the 21 housing projects in the City of Los Angeles, said the streets inside the projects were the city's problem; city officials said they belonged to the federal government.

The matter was finally decided about two years ago through the office of Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr.: the streets were the city's responsibility.

In recent months, Svorinich was able to secure city funding to begin a six-year, $10-million street maintenance project to resurface all the streets in city housing projects.

"The work will begin tomorrow" on Antwerp Street, Svorinich announced triumphantly at a news conference on the street.

"The residents now feel they are a part of the city," King said.

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