Neighbors support mayor's firing of outside company brought in to fix housing department

Neighbors in Coleman Park have been fighting for their neighborhood for decades.

For the past two years, some of them have been working with Community Redevelopment Associates of Florida -- the firm the city brought in to rebuild the housing department.

On Wednesday, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio announced she is firing the firm after two years working with the city.

"I think she did a good job. It was a long time coming and something should have been done prior to today. I am glad she did what she did," longtime Coleman Park resident Nellie Cooper said.

The mayor says the firm has been missing deadlines and not meeting expectations.

"The city has tried working with them to improve performance. In fact, the City Commission at one point made it really clear to everyone that work needed to improve," Mayor Muoio said.

Despite what could turn into a lengthy search for a new contractor, the Mayor says rehab work will stay on schedule in Coleman Park.

"I want to be really clear that services have not been interrupted and they will not be," Mayor Muoio said.

While Cooper is supportive of the Mayor's decision, she worries the revival could be slowed.

"It will never be what it used to be, but we would like to see it better than what it is now," Cooper said.

Cooper says she is happy with the progress the Mayor has had and that her neighborhood association meets with the Mayor once a month to discuss progress in the neighborhood.

The President of Community Redevelopment Associates of Florida says his company did the best they could in a "difficult situation."

"The more we got involved the more we discovered problems that existed," President and CEO Martin Larsen said.

The Mayor says the group's contract will end on June 1st.
 


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