As the president of the Board of Directors of Lindsay Park Housing Corp., I read your article captioned “Hall of a Mess” (September 11, 2008) with great dismay. It is most unfortunate that no one from your publication took the time to contact me, as board president, for the facts:
• 54 Boerum Street is one of seven buildings comprising the Lindsay Park Housing Corp. cooperative, part of the New York City Mitchell-Lama program. There are a total of 2,702 units in the cooperative.
• The Lindsay Park Board of Directors has been actively seeking methods of funding to implement capital improvement projects throughout the development, while trying to maintain affordability during times of skyrocketing energy and operating costs.
• One of the programs implemented was the installation of electrical sub-meters in all apartments, with the goal of billing each shareholder in the cooperative for the actual metered electrical consumption. This is a proven method of reducing energy consumption, and hence energy costs, by approximately one-third.
• The procurement and installation of electrical sub-meters was done under a NYSERDA rebate program whereby the housing company was fortunate enough to receive most of its cost associated with this project back from the state in the form of a rebate.
• Naomi Chappelle has been a very vocal opponent of this program and, in spite of its merits, has discouraged many of her neighbors in her building, particularly the elderly, from cooperating with the installation efforts.
• Since the rebate money received from NYSERDA was designated by the Lindsay Park Board of Directors to be used for repainting of all hallways and stairwells, Ms. Chappelle’s disruptive efforts have resulted in her building not receiving this benefit in its entirety. To date, five of the other Lindsay Park buildings have been beautifully re-painted, and the other that has not will be as soon as a major repair to the chimney is completed in the spring of 2009.
Additionally, the graffiti problem extends beyond the board and management, as noted by HPD in your article. Perhaps if Ms. Chappelle can use some of her apartment energy and influence over her neighbors to encourage them to get involved in educating all about the negative aesthetic and financial impact of defacing property where they live and own, and being more vigilant regarding the culprits who repeatedly vandalize, then the graffiti problem can be contained. In spite of many efforts made by the board to cover the graffiti, it re-appears almost immediately.
In summary, I wish to point out again that neither the Lindsay Park of Directors, nor the development management, was contacted for input prior to the publication of this article; hence, a very myopic view of the root of this problem.
Cora D. Austin