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BOSTON-A controversy is brewing over the development of a Catholic community center in South Boston on the site of a former public-housing project. The Laboure Center, an affiliate of 100-year old Catholic Charities, will go up on West Broadway on part of the former D Street public-housing project.

The site is part of a once-defunct public-housing project that has been redeveloped in quadrants by the Boston Housing Authority. Laboure is the last quadrant to be redeveloped and necessitated taking down 244 units of low-income housing. The city plans on redeveloping a 133-unit public housing complex next to the Community Center.

According to Lydia Agro, communications director for the BHA, “It’s impossible to remain with the same number of housing units when there is redevelopment because of new housing codes and density issues. When we did the first three quadrants of the site, that happened also.”

But Councilor Peggy Davis-Mullen, who is running against incumbent Mayor Thomas M. Menino in the next election, contends that the city is not maintaining its level of affordable-housing units. “There are not enough housing units,” Karen Sherman, spokesperson for Davis-Mullen, tells GlobeSt.com, “and the current administration has not placed a high priority on developing units.”

According to Sherman, the units being knocked down are low-income and they are not being replaced. “There are dozens of housing units that are boarded up all over the city,” she points out.

But Agro counters that the housing being redeveloped here will remain low-income. “Davis-Mullen seems to think these units will be market-rate, but they won’t,” Agro tells GlobeSt.com. She also notes that Laboure will provide services not only for the residents of the BHA development but for residents all over South Boston. “Those are needed services they are providing,” she says.

While Davis-Mullen insists that she supports the Community Center, she maintains that the development will not be 100% low-income. “I don’t support taking down public housing and replacing it with market-rate housing,” she tells GlobeSt.com. “People are in such dire need of housing here. This was not the right decision. I would have put 100% affordable housing in there.”

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