UA to spend nearly $1M to relocate Chris City residents
Officials considering building a new family village on the
One little boy was being chased by a little girl in the small circle of breathing room the crowd gave UA President Peter Likins to speak.
Holding a sign that states "I'm sad, I thought Dr. Likins was a family man," the boy charged into the mess of angry demonstrators.
The temperature crept up to 100 degrees and the residents of Christopher City are shouting.
"The timing was horrible," Likins conceded as he announced on the first day of finals that the UA's family housing complex will be torn down. "In retrospect I'm pretty upset about that."
Two different groups of people are chanted and waved signs together in front of the Administration building on May 10, expressing their displeasure with the decision making that University of Arizona officials have been doing for the past four years.
"We proceeded in a thoughtful, careful, methodical way," Likins said. "We do have serious maintenance problems at Christopher City."
Those maintenance problems include an inadequate sewer system and mold contamination.
"We must act," Likins said.
That action - to close and demolish the complex - is going to be a costly on for the UA.
"We're going to spend close to $1 million trying to help these families in the transition," Likins said last Thursday.
Each family will receive moving allowances from the UA as well as rent subsidies.
Those who now live in a studio apartment will receive $1,250 in moving allowances along with $100 every month for a year to curb the increased rent the faced by having to leave the complex.
Families living in three-bedroom apartments will get $1,550 for their moving allowance and $224 a month. Those families will receive a total of $4,238 from the UA.
The UA is also working with the Tucson Union School District to provide the Christopher City residents with information about local schools.
While it will be costly to help the residents move out of Christopher City, that cost is dwarfed by the amount it would cost to repair the complex.
New air conditioning units, new carpet, new roofs and the mold removal could have caused temporary displacement of residents.
For a period of time, there will be no university graduate or family housing, until the completion of the new graduate housing complex just north of the Coronado Residence Hall.
The complex - which will not be for graduate students with families - was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents in January and will cost about $25 million.
That project is expected to be completed in 2002.
Now the almost 800 people living in Christopher City are having yard sales to lighten the loads as they have to move to new homes.
"I don't want to (move), but they don't give us a choice," said Jose Rodriguez, a soil and water doctoral student moving out of Christopher City.
While the residents don't have a choice - one of the factors that sparked the protest on May 10 - the UA's money offering changed some people's minds, Rodriguez said.
"Once they offered the money, the people (Christopher City residents) got confused," he added.
A few days after the protest, Likins sent a letter to all of the families with a break down of how much money will be received by each family and an explanation of the actions being taken.
What will happen to the property after the complex is demolished is still uncertain but Likins said that the university will not go long without graduate family housing.
"We will acquire a new family village as soon as we reasonably can," Likins said.
The UA will permit bidding on all or part of the project to build a new housing complex on the Christopher City property with the university selling the unused property. Likins said all proceeds from the sale of any of that property will go to help fund the new family village.
"I do not believe the university has been unethical in this situation," Likins stated in the letter. "We took the information seriously and proceeded cautiously."