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De Blasio: Rundown Ebbetts Field Apartments worth saving

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaks with Ebbets Field Apartments residents Marie Louis Jacques and her daughter, Michaelle, after meeting with New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and tenants in Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015. Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Bill de Blasio met with tenants Sunday at Ebbets Field Apartments in Brooklyn, a rent-stabilized apartment complex he said has been plagued by code violations and exemplifies the city's deteriorating affordable developments he wants to preserve.

"We want to make these housing developments work for these families," de Blasio told reporters at a brief news conference in the complex, built in the 1960s on the former site of the storied Brooklyn Dodgers' Ebbets Field in Crown Heights. "We cannot let this opportunity slip away to preserve and improve services here."

The mayor also pledged to "renew and strengthen rent regulations." He said he wants "more enforcement" against rent law violations.

De Blasio was accompanied by newly elected Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemb. Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn).

Both vowed to back the mayor in enforcing rent laws in Albany.

"We need to put a face on this issue," Mosley said.

Karen Tynsdale, 30, an employee with the city's Homeless Services Agency and a tenant at Ebbets Field since 2009, said Fieldbridge Associates, owner and operator of the complex, is trying to evict her for paying her rent late.

"I get paid biweekly. The judge already dismissed the action and they are serving me again," she said. " . . . I work for homeless services and I myself may become homeless."

Tynsdale said her apartment also needs repairs and has no heat in the bedrooms. "I have mold in my bathroom," she said. "My apartment needs to be painted and my cabinet doors in my kitchen are falling off the hinges."

De Blasio said he discussed conditions at the complex with tenants' association members earlier in the day. But he would not disclose the concerns voiced by association members or any specific plan he had to improve services and conditions at the H-shaped complex, home to 3,000 residents.

The mayor said that the city's Housing Preservation Department has been working with Fieldbridge Associates to make repairs and correct housing code violations. In the past year, violations have decreased to 100 from 700, de Blasio said.

However, tenant Kim Williams, 32, a nursing home health attendant and longtime resident, said conditions are not improving. She said the garage where she parks her car is infested with rodents and electrical wires are exposed.

"I have mold in my bedroom closet that management is only patching up. This has been going on for 12 years," Williams said.

Gilvertteen Champion, 76, who has lived in her apartment more than 40 years, said: "I love my apartment. But I am the one who has put in thousands of dollars keeping it up."

Fieldbridge Associates could not immediately be reached for comment.

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