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Annapolis, county should pay to fix sinkhole, HUD says

The Baltimore Sun

The federal agency overseeing the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis will not provide money to help repair two large sinkholes outside an apartment building for the elderly and disabled, saying that the authority is making "reasonable" progress on its own.

Instead, the Baltimore office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development offered in a Jan. 7 letter to help the authority secure money from the city and Anne Arundel County.

The city has refused to help amid concerns that the Housing Authority isn't spending its own money and the Glenwood high-rise is not in the county's jurisdiction.

Last week's letter to U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes prompted him to urge the federal agency Friday to dip into its emergency funds to repair the sinkhole, which has destroyed nearly 40 parking spaces.

"The Housing Authority's total annual budget represents merely one-third of the total cost for repair of the sinkhole," he wrote. "Without these additional funds, the sinkhole may continue to deteriorate and present significant risk to residents of the Glenwood Apartments." Sarbanes asked to meet with HUD officials at the 154-unit building. Donna White, a HUD spokeswoman, said yesterday that the department is reviewing his requests.

The first sinkhole formed three years ago, and a second formed in November. The Housing Authority has spent more than $200,000 on remedial repairs, but officials there have said they don't have the estimated $2 million required for permanent repairs.

The authority, HUD noted, has identified $667,000 that it could allocate for the project.

In his letter to Sarbanes after an initial inquiry, James S. Kelly, HUD's Baltimore field office director, said an engineering firm had found "that the structural integrity of Glenwood Apartments is not currently threatened in any way by the presence of the sinkholes in the parking lot."

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