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Apartment complex changes name for fresh start

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Mike Murphy thought Merrick Place Apartments was heaven when he moved in to the west Augusta complex three years ago.

Merrick Place Apartments has changed its name and management, months after a February shooting in which Wayne Eggins almost died.   File/Staff
File/Staff
Merrick Place Apartments has changed its name and management, months after a February shooting in which Wayne Eggins almost died.

Then it turned to hell, he said, with burglaries and other crime driving down the quality of life.

"It started to crash real bad," he said.

One resident fed up with crime after his home was broken into tried to stop a burglary in February. Wayne Eggins was nearly killed by a gunshot wound to the head for his efforts.

Times have changed at the complex on Skinner Mill Road, however, as has the name of the apartments.

"We felt like there was some opportunity to re-establish our position in the marketplace," said Deborah Millwood, the president of Wilkinson Real Estate Advisors, the Atlanta-based group that manages the newly named Millbrook Pointe Apartments. "I'm not sure it had a great reputation before."

Millwood said that reputation extended to the competency of management. That's been changed with new management and a focus on customer service, she said.

Millbrook Pointe is actually two adjoining properties with separate addresses. Crime records show that from June 2010 to last month, burglaries peaked at 3190 Skinner Mill Road in June 2010 with five.

There were only three vehicle break-ins during that period and no violent crimes or rapes. At 3188 Skinner Mill Road, the 16 burglaries in that time period are more spread out. There were also four vehicle break-ins and the aggravated assault that nearly killed Eggins.

Millwood doesn't deny the crime at Millbrook but said there will be crime in any neighborhood. Asked whether prospective tenants might miss the neighborhood's history because of the name change, Millwood said most apartment referral sites include "formerly known as" information.

From Murphy's perspective, that won't be much of a worry. The worst tenants have been evicted and deputies are constantly serving arrest warrants to remove the troublemakers, he said.

Murphy said the new name is a signal of a fresh start.

"It's getting a whole lot better," he said.

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WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 07/16/11 - 08:28 am
0
0
That is great. Decent people

That is great. Decent people don't derserve to live in the same areas as people who are not decent and law abiding.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 07/16/11 - 08:43 am
0
0
WW1949...you are right.

WW1949...you are right. Would be great if they could start cleaning up the neighborhoods all over Augusta.

floridasun
310
Points
floridasun 07/16/11 - 08:54 am
0
0
Augusta needs to control the

Augusta needs to control the number of apartments built in an area. The Skinner Mill Road/Walton Way Extension area is overbuilt with apartments.
Columbia County has a much better zoning policy concerning the number of apartments allowed.
Too many apartments in a specific area impact the quality of life in the area..overcrowded schools, traffic, crime etc

EMS6465
0
Points
EMS6465 07/16/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
Merrick Place is no different

Merrick Place is no different than the old Savannah West Apartment complex on Washington Road now the (Greens on Washington ) You can change the name all you want until you stop taking section 8 (HUD) housing nothing is going to change. Section 8 (HUD) brings out nothing but the criminal element just look at the Bon-Air. The tenents don't care about the property when they are not paying hardly anything for rent because of Section 8.

wondersnevercease
9218
Points
wondersnevercease 07/16/11 - 09:29 am
0
0
another not "cool"
Unpublished

another not "cool"

seenitB4
85720
Points
seenitB4 07/16/11 - 09:47 am
0
0
The power of a name and its

The power of a name and its value has long been immortalized in prose, poetry, and religious ceremony. Everyone recognizes himself or herself by name.

Does a rose smell the same by any other name.....aahh the class-nobility-prestige of a name.....:)

bbqn2003
0
Points
bbqn2003 07/16/11 - 09:58 am
0
0
I agree with you EMS6465,

I agree with you EMS6465, Salem Arms also.

raul
4617
Points
raul 07/16/11 - 10:00 am
0
0
Is the downfall related to

Is the downfall related to Section 8 housing? Tearing down the projects and spreading the criminal elements throughout the county was a bad move IMO.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 07/16/11 - 10:52 am
0
0
100% agreed EMS and raul.
Unpublished

100% agreed EMS and raul. floridasun, its hard to tell about CC zoning policy from where I'm sitting. Martinez is ate up with them cramming new ones in constantly. Thats a bad move alright, then throwing low income and section 8's on tops of it!! It's going downhill fast too!!

seenitB4
85720
Points
seenitB4 07/16/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
1. The Bad Apple Theory is

1. The Bad Apple Theory is almost certainly applicable. Many situations exist, from school rooms to military units (!), where perhaps not one, but a few bad apples, can eventually spoil the barrel. In the interests of saving a majority, it may be necessary to sacrifice, or at least isolate a few. 'Triage' in the public housing community should be as real as it is in the Emergency Room or the battlefield hospital. We therefore encourage public housing to weed out, or segregate, those who would seek to drag down the rest through crime, drug use, poor sanitation, promiscuity, or whatever.

2. There is (or should also be) a Bad Barrel Theory which espouses that if the barrel is grungy enough, it can spoil any apples put in it. Surely there are environmental limits, be they physical or sociological, that lead to despair. Beyond doubt, some resident families that might make the grade under a more benign environment may well be overwhelmed by surroundings with which they simply cannot cope. The definition of 'severely distressed' should be broadly based and include the judgment of a broad cross section of local authorities.

3. There must also be a Better Apple Theory ...My Idea....

Work for a nice home-car-life----start out cleaning homes/ditches & workup to a better payday...then when you buy a nice home you will be accepted-included & wanted ....one bad apple tossed into a barrel
of good apples won't turn into an apple fritter...jmo

AutumnLeaves
7139
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/16/11 - 11:22 am
0
0
Talk about weeding and

Talk about weeding and seeding....the criminal elements....that's not exactly what the program "Weed and Seed" had in mind, it was quite the opposite. Learn from mistakes.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 07/16/11 - 12:49 pm
0
0
I am against doing NOTHING

I am against doing NOTHING when people are suffering from crime

dichotomy
32125
Points
dichotomy 07/16/11 - 02:58 pm
0
0
The "projects" were colossal

The "projects" were colossal failures. Now Section 8 is showing itself to be what everyone said it would be, a destroyer of formally viable neighborhoods. Neither program has worked as intended and Section 8 has destroyed every neighborhood and apartment complex they have "targeted". The government needs to get out of the housing business and HUD should be dismantled and abolished. Your tax dollar at work destroying stable neighborhoods in order to give a free ride to those with their hand out. I cannot imagine what the people who came up with Section 8 were thinking. Did they think if they moved subsidy people in with normal people that some good would rub off on them or something? Those people in that spectrum are there for a reason for the most part and whatever that reason is does not change by paying their rent for them and putting next door to normal people. It just reinforces their determination to stay on the gravy train and moves them closer to targets of opportunity. They know that once they destroy a house or apartment and bring it down below HUD standards that HUD will help them find another. HUD does not worry about the crime and destroyed lives and property values of neighbors. In fact, it just creates more cheap rental houses for their "clients" as the normal people sell out and flee for their lives.

And RC Planning and Zoning.....well, they are pretty useless. Now if you've got some vacant scrub land in south RC that you want taxed on the valuation of $12,000 for the first acre and $5,000 on each additional acre then RC Planning and Zoning, in cahoots with the RC Tax Office, has got a plan for you. Otherwise they are useless. I don't know what CC is doing with all of those apartments and Section 8 but I doubt if CC gets the same "quality" of Section 8 frequent flyers as RC. But if you get enough apartments built I am sure that some of our finest, looking to upgrade, will be moving your way.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 07/16/11 - 04:30 pm
0
0
There's several great upscale

There's several great upscale and affordable apartments in Richmond County.. The problem with some apartments is the quality of tenants allowed to rent and the cheaper price range.. The former Merrick Place apartments is the only problem along Skinner Mill road/Walton Way Extension corridor.. And Merrick place only one had one violent crime incident out of both complexes.. Brigham Woods, Woodwinds, and Thornberry are located on Skinner Mill rd.. The prices at Brigham Woods($875-$1320) are more expensive compared to several houses throughout the CSRA.. The Traditions at Augusta on Walton Way Extension is an popular place to live..

AutumnLeaves
7139
Points
AutumnLeaves 07/16/11 - 10:37 pm
0
0
Tried to do something for 7

Tried to do something for 7 years. Hope something I did helped. I had an old neighbor stop me the other day and told me he wished I would come back, that I was one of the few people actually trying to make things better in our neighborhood. It was good to get some rare affirmation.

BBSouth
12
Points
BBSouth 07/17/11 - 01:57 am
0
0
With Merrick's, or

With Merrick's, or Millbrook's, $99 move in special going on right now I'm sure their reputation will improve.

TK3
562
Points
TK3 07/17/11 - 10:45 am
0
0
Equating "special" move-in

Equating "special" move-in rates with the quality of life and renters of a complex is a bit elitist to say the least. I am disappointed but not surprised that there are more than a few on this list who's views on such matters not only border on being anti-free enterprise-business, but downright socialist/Fascist.

Supporting the use of government to control not only the type but number of apartments, homes or businesses built in an area is state planning via (GOG) zoning and Federal programs-edict and is in NO way or shape consistent with the Constitution/American liberties or even whats left of tattered free market system.

Housing/rental projects built and or financed by government using tax dollars is a form of state socialism and the state telling those where and how they can live is what creates government "Reservations" and (section 8) outposts and inflames class and race warfare, creates more arbitrary enforcement opportunities, and in the end contributes to government corruption and higher crime rates.

There are no easy solutions to housing problems as there are so many and varied, but the first step must be to throw Big Brother out of the home and life decisions of citizens.

For all who would cry we must have compassion for others in need of housing or assistance, I agree, but it is one thing to volunteer to lend a helping hand to one reaching out and another all together for one reaching out for your wallet via Robin Hood$ merry government band of socialist highwaymen.

"In any free society, the conflict between social conformity and individual liberty is permanent, unresolvable, and necessary." -Kathleen Norris

Bing0
14
Points
Bing0 09/29/11 - 08:04 am
0
0
As the former president (6

As the former president (6 years) of a complex located in West Augusta less than 2 miles from Merrick Place, I can attest very personally to the destruction of the Section 8 program on a similar neighborhood. Our neighborhood was in a unique situation. We had less than 20% owner occupancy. We were targeted by a single individual who began buying units and we found ourselves in a situation where this person owned 65% of the total units in the complex. And then it seemed as if we all woke up one morning and our previously peaceful neighborhood had not just gone down hill it was careening downhill still.
Our new "investor" was renting his units to Section 8 tenants. It became a nightmare overnight. The issues I was dealing with were unreal. I have always been a good neighbor. I was raised to believe that this was just something one did that was in a subtle way sacred. The people that I was dealing with now had no clue or inkling of what that meant. There were problems with parking, people leaving trash bags by their front door for days on end with the intent of carrying them to the dumpster at some point in the future. We had dangerous dogs left to bark interminably on back decks with low fences. Cars that did not run left in spaces for what would have been months if I had not intervened. The situation that I was in became dangerous. The people I was dealing with were dangerous. I speak as one who has been in leadership on the front lines in a neighborhood under attack. I realized though that my real enemies were not the ignorant street thugs and thugettes that I was forced to deal with. My enemies were the Section 8 program itself and the ones who chose to rent to them. In the end it worked out thankfully. The landlord renting to these folks found that they were destroying the units that they were renting. Think about it, it was almost a full time job just to keep up with the trash they would throw on the ground! Section 8 is a destroyer of good neighborhoods and good neighbors.
Section 8 is an absolutely terrible government program. Quality costs money. Quality neighborhoods cost money as do quality neighbors. Do you think these ignorant morons that I was largely dealing with raised their children with respect for authority? What do you suppose our public schools were like after an influx of the offspring of these people? Oh and for any of you thinking that my viewpoint has anything racial to it, it does not. It did not matter what race a Section 8 renter was, 95% of the time the people were undesirable with undesirable attitudes, values and beliefs. Folks I only briefly touched on the problems. We had drug dealers moving in, a near fatal shooting and at one point we had to clean up needles on the ground. It starts slowly and insidiously and then one wakes up and wonders what went wrong with our neighborhood?
I can only guess that the policy makers who developed the Section 8 program believed that if they changed the environment of the participants in the program then those participants would subsequently change. These people do not change because their surroundings have changed. What they wind up doing is changing their environments and definitely not for the better. They need to live in the level of quality of a neighborhood that they are willing to pay for. PERIOD.
My .02....

seenitB4
85720
Points
seenitB4 09/29/11 - 08:09 am
0
0
Your 2 cents is worth a

Your 2 cents is worth a million bucks...very true!

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