ASHTABULA — An unexpected letter had Hillary Como of Woodman Avenue Estates, along with her neighbors, wondering how long they will have homes.

“I just want to find out what’s going on,” said Como, a resident for the past seven years.

About 50 families live in the public housing project on Woodman Avenue — apartments that the residents may have to leave so demolition can take place, said James Noyes, director of the Ashtabula Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA).

Noyes held a public hearing on the matter Friday morning at Woodman Estates, 5717 Woodman Ave. He explained the process and addressed any questions from the 20 or so people who attended the meeting. He also distributed comment forms.

“You write it, we will respond to it,” he said.

Noyes plans to submit an application with

the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for permission to demolish 50 units. He will cite the age of the apartment complex, maintenance costs and the cost to replace.

This is the second time Noyes has applied for demolition.

“Why? Why the demolition?” he said. “Because (the apartment complex) is not built well. It was poorly planned and not like any other of our developments.”

Noyes said it would take $10 million to fix up Woodman Estates.

“It’s a money pit; it’s a bad idea to keep throwing money into a bad place,” he said. “We have water, roof, septic and sewer problems.”

Noyes also calmed any resident’s fears.

“We will make sure everyone has somewhere to go,” he said. “You don’t have to pay to move.”

The AMHA also will pay for utility transfers, he said. 

Lynette Brown said she felt better knowing AMHA will pay her moving costs. 

“I didn’t know what I would do if I had to come up with the money,” she said.

Noyes said he believes AMHA has the support of the community to provide a better living arrangement for its residents.

He warned residents it’s not going to happen until July 2019 or thereabout.

There are 555 Section 8 Housing Units in Ashtabula County for seniors and families. The units, or apartments, are in demand and there’s a waiting list.

There are no after-demolition plans for the Woodman Estates site.

“We can have a nice park,” he said.