Senior Citizens Attend Opening of Logan Gardens in Harlem

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorNew York–The senior citizen residents of 450 West 131st St. today celebrated the opening of Logan Gardens, the formerly distressed apartment building that has been transformed by CATCH and Enterprise into affordable homes for senior and disabled citizens.The opening event celebrated the late Dr. Arthur C. Logan, a well-known civil rights champion, surgeon and personal physician to such luminaries as Dr. Martin Luther King and Duke Ellington. Logan led New York City’s poverty programs during the 1960’s as chairman of the Council Against Poverty.Logan Gardens was originally rehabilitated in 1985 through the Federal Section 202 Elderly Housing Assistance Program. Property tax and mortgage arrears as well as deferred maintenance and haphazard repairs have plagued the building in recent years, on occasion leaving tenants without heat and hot water. Faced with HUD foreclosure of the building, the senior citizen residents organized in the hopes of preventing more of the same bad service or even worse at the hands of a different owner. The city successfully lobbied HUD to restrict bidding to preclude participation in the bidding process by irresponsible owners and also exercised a right of first refusal to acquire the building. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Charles Rangel personally advocated for a transfer of title that would ensure that Logan Gardens residents would be protected.“Preserving buildings for another generation of New Yorkers is at the heart of Mayor Bloomberg’s housing plan,” says Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Shaun Donovan. “We thank HUD for their efforts – they got tough with the prior owner, and ensured that the new owner would do the right thing.”