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Christina Phan for Spectator

Gregory Evans, tenants association vice president candidate and 3333 resident, speaks Tuesday night about the management.

Residents of 3333 Broadway, a 35-story West Harlem building, have found traces of lead in their water pipes and mice crawling in their apartments. Some tenants of the mixed-income towering complex, on Broadway between 135th and 136th streets, say they are concerned that the building will not stay affordable and complain that the management hasn't informed them of the building's current renovations plan. Over 50 tenants gathered in the basement of the complex Thursday night to hear candidates for 3333's tenants association debate these concerns prior to the upcoming Dec. 14 vote for a new board. "There is very little communication here," vice-president candidate and 3333 tenant Gregory Evans said. "There is very little effort to tie the tenant association with the tenants with the management and with outside this building." Touching upon a repeated theme during the discussion of lack of communication, he added, "Wouldn't everyone really want to know what's going on here?" This 1,100-apartment building has evolved over the last several years with changes in management and a break off from Mitchell-Lama, the state housing subsidy program for lower-income tenants. As the make-up of this complex has shifted, the tenants association has often been at the center of debates, sometimes focused on the maintenance, or lack thereof, of the building's facilities. Community organizers from Tenants and Neighbors and West Harlem Environmental Action planned Tuesday's panel with the building's election commission. Andrew Hamilton, another vice president candidate, said that he and his fellow candidates set up a website, 3333tenants.org, with information about maintenance, building security, and rent vouchers, as well as community resources. Still, some residents said that the real test of the tenants association will be its ability to work with management. "We can sit here and say we are going to find ways to communicate, but I haven't heard one candidate talk about their background negotiating with management," said tenant and Columbia facilities worker Calvin McAlister. "Who is capable of sitting across and strategizing with management and negotiating for what will get results?" Urban American Management bought the building from Mitchell-Lama in 2007 and has maintained that it is dedicated to improving the building's relationship with tenants and addressing maintenance concerns. Current president Alicia Barksdale, who is running for another term, said that communication is key as the management renovates the exterior of the building but continues to neglect internal plumbing, heating and structural problems. "We have to get unity in the building," she said. Some tenants said the association has in fact been successful in the past. "Management and maintenance sometimes don't fix problems fast enough," said Hector Blanco, a tenant and member of the election committee. "We need the tenant association to make sure it gets done." shira.poliak @columbiaspectator.com

3333 Broadway tenants association City Housing
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