8News gets inside look at ongoing Creighton Court heating repairs

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For months, dozens of residents in Creighton Court have been living without heat; some even resulting to using their ovens to keep warm.

On Wednesday, Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority gave 8News an inside look at the repair process and where the project stands now as it works to install baseboard electric heating units inside nearly 80 units.

“Wonderful, wonderful. Magnificent. In any and every room you can have control.”

That’s how resident Jayne Harris responded when she learned she could now control her heating — the first time such a feature has been offered to Creighton Court residents since the public housing complex opened in 1952. At last check on Wednesday, RRHA had restored heat to 11 units.

“If you hot in one room and you want to be cool you can turn the meter down to low,” Harris happily explained.

In addition to the 11 units that residents moved back into Wednesday, heat has also been restored to an additional nine vacant units that are being used as temporary housing for residents to use while repairs are being made to their apartment.

Repairs will typically take 2-3 days for each unit. The radiators are removed, leaving a reminder of the past 66 years. New pipes are also connected to the baseboard heat.

“The biggest difference our residents will find will be the control knobs,” RRHA’s Director of Public Housing Charles Williams explained. “The control knobs allow them to control the heat. They will be able to control it from low, comfort zone, to high.”

Prior to installation, RRHA turned the heat on in October and it would run automatically through March.

Williams inspected each unit and used a laser heat gun to check the temperature. Earlier this fall, rooms would register at 40 or 50 degrees.

But on Wednesday …

“Ambient heat temperature of this chair … the temperature is registering 78 degrees,” Williams said. “What I try to do is give you a reading throughout the apartment. But this is giving you temperatures anywhere between 77 and 81 degrees.”

Williams said the project remains on schedule. The goal is to complete installations inside nine units per week in hopes of restoring heat to each unit by the end of March.

“By the end of this week we will have about 20 units that have been completed and that is a big thing for us,” he said.

That’s news to the ears of residents like Yvette Ross, who has lived in Creighton Court for the past 57 years. It’s the only home she’s ever known.

“I’m looking forward to having heat in my apartment and feeling comfortable again,” she said. “It’s hard, you know, to keep warm when you don’t have heat. We’ve been dealing with this situation I’m going to say since about March of last year.”

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