A long-awaited senior citizen housing project came a step closer to realization when the City Council authorized purchase of a nine-acre site on New Haven Drive.

The Levitt Corp. has agreed to sell the property to the city for $85,000. The 35-unit senior-citizen project will occupy four acres and the remaining land will be used for "other public purposes," according to city officials.

The project is important not only because Bowie wants the housing, but because the city needs it to meet federal requirements for a $600,000 grant.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development will not release the last two years' portions of a three-year Community Development Block Grant until Bowie has an approved plan for housing for the elderly.

After months of trying to place the project at the closed Somerset Elementary School site, city officials last month opted to shift the location to New Haven Drive. The alternative was presented on Aug. 24, HUD's deadline for a project plan.

HUD had rejected the Somerset site as too expensive. Although it has not yet approved the New Haven Drive plan, the agency has given the site preliminary verbal approval, according to Mayor Audrey Scott.

In other business, the council commended Bowie resident Philip Brooks, 14, for his achievements in last month's National Junior Olympics. Brooks placed fifth in the finals of the 100-meter dash in the intermediate class, with a time of 11 minutes and 23 seconds.