The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 3, 2013

Malleable Heights plan taking shape

Aims to improve residents’ security

SHARON — When Luvier Barber first moved into the Malleable Heights public housing community in 1993, “It was kind of rough,” he said.

Mercer County Housing Authority smoothed some of those rough edges by increasing police presence, demolishing problem structures, limiting vehicular access, hiring a site manager and building a new community building, the Quinby Street Service Center.

“It’s better now,” said Barber, who moved back and forth from Malleable Heights, Sharon, and Garster Homes in Farrell until 2005, when he entered the apartment he now lives in on Quinby Street.

Barber, 70, said he enjoys living in the community - “It’s all right with me, as long as people don’t bother me,” he said - but would like to see a few things done to improve it.

Some of the items Barber mentioned - security cameras, new doors - are in the works, and a master plan Mercer County Housing Authority commissioned lists many others.

When a housing authority commissions a master plan for a community, it usually is looking at a large-scale modernization or revitalization, said Mercer County Housing Authority Executive Director Nannette Livadas.

No such plans are in the works for Malleable Heights, although Livadas said the authority will look to undertake parts of the plan as money becomes available.

The plan, written by Pittsburgh architecture firm Loysen + Krustmeier, Pittsburgh, was commissioned because the authority was awarded a security grant, Livadas said.

While the plan goes beyond security issues, the recommendations separate security and non-security issues, she said.

“I’m really happy with the master plan, although we can’t afford to do everything,” she said, adding that she had not added the cost estimates together to get an overall figure.

The authority is preparing specifications to buy new doors - front, back and storm - for all of the units. The main doors will be made of a heavier steel than those currently on the units.

Barber said the apartments are due new doors, showing where his had been repaired after having been forced open sometime before he moved in.

The door project will complete the security grant, which also is funding the installation of security cameras - which are yet to be put in - and hiring of security guards.

Barber said the cameras are long overdue and should help stem what he considers the biggest crime problem at Malleable Heights: theft.

“Last night, someone came in and stole my barbecue pit,” said the retired welder, truck driver and construction worker.

The barbecue grill was sitting in his back yard, in a fenced-in area. The week before Christmas, someone stole his lawnmower motor, he said.

Replacing the wooden fences with chain-link ones would help cut down on the theft problem because residents could see into their neighbors’ back yards, said Barber, an Army veteran.

Other residents made the same argument to Loysen + Krustmeier, Livadas said, but there are no immediate plans for such a project.

Barber said he has not seen the guards with State Security and Investigative Services, who patrol at regular weekend hours and random weekday hours, but authority officials said the guards have been welcomed by residents.

“It’s made a big difference down there,” Livadas said, noting the guards coordinate activities with Sharon police.

Holly Campbell, director of housing management, said officials get daily reports on the activities of the guards, who are uniformed and can carry firearms and electronic shocking devices.

“There have not had any site issues,” Campbell said. “The people are really respectful of them.”

The guards also could alleviate concerns of residents that out-of-towners gather in the community at night.

Other projects mentioned in the master plan include replacing windows, building front porches and renovating the exteriors of the buildings.

Barber said he would like if the exteriors could be spruced up the way the authority did with Garster Homes and the Mesabi Street apartments in Sharon, where front porches were added and siding was installed on the upper floors.

Malleable Heights is due for modernization work after the authority finishes work at McDowell Manor, Sharon, but the scope of the project has not been determined.

The authority receives about $600,000 a year from the federal government for modernization projects, Livadas said. That figure is half of what the authority used to get.

Barber said some things he would like to see done at Malleable Heights would cost little or nothing - cracking down on littering, enforcing requirements as to when garbage toters are to be put at the curb and returned to apartments, and installing speed bumps to slow traffic.

“It’s just a few things they need doing,” he said.

The authority recently used funds from the Shenango Valley Foundation to hire Roland Barksdale-Hall on a part-time basis to hold adult education classes, computer training sessions and workshops on writing resumes.

Despite the authority’s financial limitations, Malleable Heights is a desirable community, Livadas said.

“It think it’s a great community,” she said. “It has a great community center. It has active residents. We don’t have problems filling the units.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • Dontae Rashad Pinkins Man arrested for April gunfight

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April gunfight with another man in a Sharon alley.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearing changed in starving case

    The time and place for the preliminary hearing of a Greenville mom accused of starving and beating her 7-year-old young son has been changed.

    July 26, 2014

  • Schell working on mural Drawn to Mexico

    Jason Schell probably is not exaggerating when he says that millions of people have seen his art.

    July 26, 2014 4 Photos

  • Farrell man, 24, arrested on warrant in connection with April shooting

    Federal marshals and local police arrested Dontae Rashad Pinkins Thursday on a warrant accusing him of involvement in an April shootout in Sharon.


    Pinkins, 24, of Farrell, is in Mercer County Jail after failing to post bond on gun charges.

    Additional details to follow.
     

    July 25, 2014

  • Firm will study timing of traffic signals

    Hermitage commissioners on Wednesday hired Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP to study the timing scheme of traffic signals along parts of Hermitage Road and East State Street.

    July 25, 2014

  • 3 area fire depts. awarded grants

    Three area fire departments will share in more than $590,000 in grants meant to help Pennsylvania’s rural communities guard against the threat of fires in forests and other undeveloped areas, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Ellen Ferretti announced.

    July 25, 2014

  • One suspect in home shooting is jailed

    The first of three suspects police say were involved in an attempted robbery that ended in a shooting is in jail.

    July 25, 2014

  • Dancing kids K.I.D.S. day

    Hoping to reach children at just the right age, when they are old enough to understand but not past the point where it may be too late, Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission counselors held an “alternative activities” day at the courthouse Thursday, complete with music and dancing, hot dogs and treats, games and T-shirts.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo