NYC Tears Down Unnecessary Scaffolding in Public Housing - NBC New York

NYC Tears Down Unnecessary Scaffolding in Public Housing

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    NYC Tears Down Unnecessary Scaffolding in Public Housing

    New York City officials say all unnecessary scaffolding has been removed from city public housing developments. Andrew Siff has more. (Published Thursday, July 9, 2015)

    New York City officials say all unnecessary scaffolding has been removed from city public housing developments.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the city has removed 43,769 feet of scaffolding — more than eight miles — since he took office in January 2014.

    Residents had complained that scaffolding had been left in place long after construction was completed.

    They believed the so-called "sidewalk sheds" were a blight and created dark spaces where crime could flourish.

    As one scaffolding was dismantled in a Sheepshead Bay development Thursday, resident Shirley Haskins remarked, "It's about time these are coming down. They've been up 8 or 9 years." 

    "This sound is music to the ears of residents, to hear the nails being pulled out," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at a news conference there. 

    De Blasio said the sheds were "a vivid, common reminder of neglect."

    "It was great for criminals who wanted a place to hide, great for folks who wanted to throw their trash, but not good for people who are law-abiding residents who want a safe, clean place to live," said de Blasio. 

    The mayor, a Democrat, has prioritized speeding up repairs at city housing developments. More people live in public housing in New York than the entire population of Atlanta.

    Taking down sidewalk sheds is a tall order for an agency with 400,000 residents living in 179,000 apartments and a nearly $100 million budget deficit.

    One NYCHA resident in the Bronx said he'd rather have the mayor focus on other, more pressing problems in public housing. 

    "I went about six months with no hot water," Nahjee Cook said. "I wish I don't have to walk into an elevator that smells of urine." 

    But neighbors at Sheepshead Houses said Thursday it's a step in the right direction. 

    "We are tired of seeing the sheds," said one tenant. 

    Dozens of other scaffolds will stay up at active construction sites, and the city acknowledges that the next challenge is making sure repairs happen faster. 

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