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AHA approves Jericho demolition

Updated: October 29, 2012 6:43AM

AURORA — The Housing Authority board approved a contract to demolish the existing buildings at the Jericho Circle site Wednesday.

The agency agreed to a $1.5 million contract with American Demolition Company to demolish the former public housing buildings on the city’s West Side.

Before the board could vote on the contract, new AHA board member Rey Cruz said he wanted the board to go into executive session before the public vote.

“If it’s privileged and confidential (information), I can’t discuss it (in public),” Cruz said.

AHA attorney Jennifer Soule recommended the board hold the vote until after executive session.

After a 50-minute executive session, the board went back into a public meeting and voted 6-0 to approve the demolition contract. Cruz abstained from the vote.

After the meeting, Cruz said based on information he’s received, he was concerned that approving the demolition would mean the AHA would have to rebuild housing at the site.

“It’s been redone twice, this is the third time,” Cruz said. “What’s going to change?”

In addition to demolition, the contract covers asbestos removal and recycling at the site.

The Jericho Circle low-income housing complex, formerly known as Westwood, was built in 1971 and 1972. In recent years, studies revealed the housing complex had significant structural problems. The Housing Authority received federal approval to demolish Jericho Circle in September 2010.

About 93 families who lived at Jericho Circle were given Section 8 relocation vouchers in 2011. The last family was evicted from Jericho Circle in April.

Police and fire teams continue to stage training exercises at the site, AHA Director of Operations Sharon Coyle said Wednesday.

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