The Journey Continues… Paradise at Parkside’s Pending Renovation
More than 30 years ago (1986), Telesis Corporation embarked upon a journey to redevelop and transform this resident community in Northeast DC called “Paradise Manor.” It was a challenging and exciting time, to say the least. Consisting of approximately 653 housing units, Paradise Manor (now referred to as “Paradise at Parkside”) was considered to be one of the most dangerous and troubled communities in the District of Columbia. Consequently, the plan for redevelopment would require more than “bricks and mortar.” The plan would require a broad community effort. By working in collaboration with at least 300 resident families from the Paradise neighborhood, the local police, and other grassroots organizations such as the Nation of Islam, Telesis and its management partner – The CT Group – was able to support and encourage the community’s will for positive transformation. “This place has come a long way,” said Ms. Pauline Harris. Ms. Harris has been a resident of Paradise for more than 25 years now, long enough to remember what it was like before the redevelopment. In fact, the Washington Post ran an article in 1995 that lauded the improvements and referred to the evolving community as a “Little Slice of Paradise.” Interestingly, no pun was intended. Today – after $70 million spent and more than 30 years later – the journey continues, and once again, it is an exciting time! A burgeoning Tenant Association is taking form, and on August 2, 2018, dozens of Paradise residents gathered at the Chancy Spruell Community Center to hear about pending plans to renovate and further improve Paradise at Parkside.
The renovation highlights include: new roofs and insulation, new energy efficient windows, new energy efficient heating & air conditioning units, new vinyl plank flooring in units, repairs and painting in all units, appliances and cabinets replaced as needed, site landscaping, satellite playgrounds, and solar panels to be installed on roofs for production of clean energy. “I’m really looking forward to these improvements – it’s definitely exciting to me,” said Ms. Patrice Braxton, a resident of Paradise for the past seven years. Although these improvements can be exciting for some residents, Telesis representatives who attended the gathering were sensitive to the concerns that typically accompany renovations. Some residents feared that they would have to move or that the rent would be increased.
Consequently, Telesis representative Lisa Wiersma stressed two important points at the gathering: (1) Paradise will remain affordable housing, and (2) no one will be displaced. All residents left the gathering with these assurances. Nevertheless, if a resident has any concerns or questions about the renovation, he or she can visit Chris Shelton at the Community Coordinator’s office on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 1pm – 7:30pm; or the Business/Management office on Mondays through Fridays between the hours of 8:30am – 5:00pm. Moreover, there will be additional meetings in the near future, so residents are encouraged to be on the lookout for notices that will be posted.