New apartments a ‘Sonny’ spot
By Mark Wineka
A friend told Julian W. “Sonny” Carpenter the great thing about having the Carpenter’s Corner apartments named for him was that he hadn’t even died yet.
Carpenter joined city officials and others Wednesday in cutting the ribbon for 22 new apartments, the first public housing built in Salisbury in 31 years.
“They’re very impressive, and they do look good,” said Carpenter, who has been on the Salisbury Housing Authority’s board of commissioners for 25 years and currently serves as chairman.
A new street in the $2.5 million Carpenter’s Corner ó Sonny Acres Drive ó also is named for him.
Carpenter is the longest serving commissioner since the housing authority was established in 1949 and is former executive director of the city’s urban renewal programs which redeveloped this eastern side of Salisbury with public housing long ago.
Carpenter’s wife, Dinah, and a son, Bowen, shared the big day Wednesday and took a tour of one of the 11 new duplexes, which sit along two new side streets in the 4-acre corner of Old Concord Road and South Shaver Street.
The units were designed for residents 55 and older and take up the area once occupied by the 44-unit Lincoln Park Apartments. Those apartments had deteriorated badly, leading to their demolition in 2002, paid for by a HOPE VI Demolition Grant.
Each duplex features steep roofs, shutters, numerous windows, coined corners and brick construction. The shades of brick are different, giving each home its own character.
The interiors have laminate floors, ceramic tile bathrooms and walk-in closets. There are 14 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom apartments, including eight which have added features for the physically disabled.
Layton Woodcock, executive director of Salisbury Housing Authority, said the units probably will be ready for occupancy in two to three weeks. All the units are spoken for.
“People who have been with us for awhile ó we gave them the first opportunity,” Woodcock said. People who were displaced when the Lincoln Park Apartments were razed also were given preference.
Mary Powell, who has lived at 623 E. Monroe St. since 1993, will live in one of the apartments. She visited Carpenter’s Corner Wednesday.
“It’s beautiful,” she said.
Powell added she will be happy no longer having to climb the steps leading to her current apartment.
Woodcock said the project will be paid for in five years. It depended on a $1.9 million construction loan from Fannie Mae, and F&M Bank provided the promissory note that served as collateral for the Fannie Mae loan.
Blue Ridge Enterprises of Mount Airy served as the general contractor; Wayne Stogner, the architect.
Jeff Jahnke, special programs manager for the housing authority, visited the site regularly during construction.
“It was a team effort putting this all together,” Woodcock said.
The duplexes face inward toward Sonny Acres Drive. But the back of the duplexes along South Shaver Street can be confused for the front of the apartments.
Carpenter said the housing authority probably will install some kind of fence along the South Shaver Street side to eliminate that confusion.
Woodcock presented Carpenter with a framed collage of photographs documenting the construction of Carpenter’s Corner.