Boarded up houses on the edge of the Olde Town historic neighborhood will be replaced by a housing development for people with disabilities.
Seven houses, a community center and an office will be built on Sibley Street between Greene and Telfair streets using an $818,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. Existing structures on the site, four shotgun-style houses and two small white buildings, will be renovated or demolished if beyond repair. Project leaders said they will try to save parts of the houses with historic value.
At a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Wednesday, leaders from the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority, CSRA Housing and Family Development and the city’s Housing and Community Development Department said the new housing will rehabilitate a blighted and neglected block.
“We’re always looking for something that will help our clients and help the community,” EOA director Gloria Lewis said.
The new houses will be 600- to 800-square-foot homes with one bedroom, a kitchen and living space, said Rufus Burdette, the president of Greene and Burdette Property Management, a building company in Waynesboro, Ga.
The seven housing tenets, which have already been selected, are existing clients of a EOA housing program that leases apartments at sites across the city. At the new complex, the community center will be staffed Monday through Friday to help clients with life skills training, provide transportation to doctors appointments, and assist with utilities and housing payments, said Lynda Suarez, the resource development coordinator for EOA.
“Everybody will be together. There will be on-site staff management,” Suarez said.
Lewis said she’s not concerned with crime issues on nearby East Boundary and surrounding blocks, adding that continual management of the site will be an asset to the residents.
“It will more enhance the rest of the Olde Town community than anything else,” she said. “Once we get this done, we’re not going to walk away from this.”