Fire initiates Marlborough’s new housing director
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Marlborough’s new Housing Director Douglas Bushman had a most unusual birthday this year. He was 39 days into his new job, which he began in January, when a fire broke out at the Liberty Hill Apartments, Senior Housing at 240 Main St. It appears to have started in one unit and then spread to others, he said. At this time no specific cause for the fire has been issued.
“As someone new to Marlborough, I saw firsthand how the city’s public agencies – the Police and Fire departments, Public Health and other officials acted quickly and professionally. The senior residents were sheltered, fed and, just as important, reassured that they were safe,” he said. “Several private companies stepped up and provided gift cards and food. Without question the people of Marlborough did everything possible to help.”
Bushman said work on the damaged units will begin in the next few weeks and he estimated that all should be completed no later than August. He also overseas the operation of the city’s other two State Elderly Housing complexes – 42 units at 29 Pleasant St., and the garden-style 60-unit complex at 397 Bolton St.
“I have had two meetings with the Marlborough Housing Tenant Council and their Executive Committee and planned meetings at all three communities. I believe it is very important for housing management to listen to the seniors – who are the customers – since we know what their concerns are and how we can respond to their needs,” Bushman said.
Public safety is the new director’s primary concern, that includes power outages and severe weather conditions. One of his first acts was to form a Public Safety Committee; he met with the group and suggested that it work with city services to improve their responses and ability to react to emergencies. He also encouraged employees to reach out to their counterparts and regulatory administrators at Housing and Urban Development and Housing and Community Development Authority (CDA) for training opportunities.
Bushman said he is working cohesively with the CDA, headed by Mayor Arthur Vigeant, chair, and appreciates their help and guidance. He also oversees grant activities for the group’s Building Grant Program, which includes the Preston Street infrastructure project and housing rehabilitation. Before coming to Marlborough, Bushman was employed by the Westport, Conn., Housing Authority as labor counsel, where he was an advisor to the executive director. Prior to that position he was assistant to the executive director of the Housing Authority in New Britain, Conn. He is a lawyer and has also had public sector experience.
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