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Water damage at 233 Smith Court, one of the scattered-site duplexes constructed for the Dunkirk Housing Authority in 1986, is being repaired, the authority's executive director, Raymond Leahy, said Monday, while an initial inspection of other units built to settle a housing discrimination suit showed extensive damage.

He said that water apparently seeped in under the siding and has damaged stairwells in both units of the Smith Court duplex.

Cope Builders of Dunkirk is repairing the damage to the wooden components of the building on a time and materials basis.

If repair costs wind up exceeding $5,000, the authority may need to hire an architect to write specifications for competitive bidding for repairs at the other units.

At this point, the a visual inspection of other scattered-site units built at the same time shows extensive damage, Leahy said.

City Building Inspector George Corsoro Monday said he had looked at the buildings last week and has written to the authority recommending that an architect and electrician be hired to inspect the damage, which must be repaired.

Corsoro said he will reinspect the buildings after the repair work is completed.

The Housing Authority will pay for the repairs initially from the reserve fund, but will be looking for other sources of funding, Leahy said.

Possibilities include emergency funding from the Buffalo office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The duplexes were part of the 60 units constructed in 1986 as part of an out-of-court settlement of a housing discrimination suit brought in 1980 by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others.

The project had two architects, William McGraw of Fredonia, who was discharged by the authority, and the late Frances Stieglitz of Buffalo.

During the construction phase, Housing Authority Commissioner Leon Schrantz repeatedly complained about the workmanship on the application of the siding, which apparently met building code standards.

He also voted against accepting the buildings, which were constructed by the Nichter Construction Co. Inc. of Buffalo.

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