DADE CITY — The Pasco County Housing Authority moved a step closer to replacing the dilapidated Dade Oaks apartment complex when county commissioners agreed last week to provide $1.75 million in matching funds for a federal grant.
The funding should allow the Housing Authority to complete the purchase of a 12.8-acre site on 14th Street, about a mile north of the existing Dade Oaks complex, for $329,900. The bulk of the funding, which would come out of the county’s affordable housing programs, would be used as leverage for federal grants and loans to rebuild the 69-unit complex. The county could afford to make the investment because it has such a positive loan-repayment record from its homebuyer assistance program.
“It is true that it’s 15 percent of our budget,” Community Development Director George Romagnoli said, “but the Dade Oaks complex is the most desperate and most dilapidated in Pasco County.”
Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development gave the 35-year-old complex a failing grade after touring the property — a follow-up to the agency’s 2011 audit of the Housing Authority.
In addition, the complex was built at the low point of a 160-acre drainage basin. Topographic maps show sharp elevation changes — as much as a 55-foot difference in about five city blocks — which has led to persistent flooding problems.
Dianne Morris, executive director of the housing authority, said the new Dade Oaks apartments will be modern and energy efficient. “Everything is going to be state-of-the-art,” she said. “The units will have a more open floor plan. They’ll have central heat and air, energy efficient windows and appliances. Even the paint is low VOC (volatile organic compound).”
Morris said the application is due Dec. 17. If Pasco wins the grant, construction should take about 16 months.
“I know we have to go through at least one more rainy season,” Morris said. “I’ve already told the residents to prepare for that.”