New homes will replace public housing project

Complex replaces public housing project

  • Follow Government

Gone are any traces of the Underwood Homes public housing project that sat for decades off Sand Bar Ferry Road.

Zach Boyden-Holmes/StaffThe Walton Oaks mixed income housing complex work site at the former Underwood Homes public housing project on Sand Bar Ferry near I-520 in Augusta.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/StaffThe Walton Oaks mixed income housing complex work site at the former Underwood Homes public housing project on Sand Bar Ferry near I-520 in Augusta.

In its place is the wooden framework of apartment buildings, the beginnings of what Augusta housing officials hope will be the first of several mixed-income developments that would eventually replace most public housing projects in Richmond County.

The first of the proposed four-phase, $30 million dollar project should be complete in December, said Richard Arfman, director of planning and development for the Housing Authority of the City of Augusta. It will consist of 75 housing units for people 55 and older. The other three phases also will have 75 units each, providing 300 units total.

All of the units will be subsidized in some fashion, either as public housing or through rent reductions for people making 50 percent to 60 percent of the area's median income. The original proposal called for 10 percent of the units to be at market rate, but Arfman said the authority decided against it after the state Department of Community Affairs did away with that requirement and consultants and the developer of the project advised not to because they could be hard to lease.

When asked if this affected the original mixed-income intent, Arfman said: "A little bit. But with the tax credit units you have families who are making $30,000 to $32,000. These are still working class people."

So far, only two phases have been approved by the Department of Community Affairs for the needed tax credits to make the project economically viable, but Arfman said the agency doesn't expect problems getting the rest.

"Everything is going good," he said. "There are no glitches yet."

The only problem so far, Arfman said, are right-of-way issues with the Georgia Department of Transportation regarding the main entrance into the new complex, but he said that hasn't affected construction.

The development will be called Walton Oaks, named after Atlanta-based developer Walton Communities, which is building and will manage the facility. The senior complex, which will consist of one- and two-bedroom units, is tabbed Legacy at Walton Oaks.

This will be the housing authority's first mixed-income residential complex, having come after a similar proposed project in south Augusta turned into a debacle when homeowners in the affected area loudly complained that they hadn't been made aware of it.

This time, officials worked hard early in the process to address concerns of Sand Bar Ferry homeowners about the project to prevent a repeat of 2007, when residents from Georgetown, Meadowbrook, Breeze Hill, Hampton and Winchester subdivisions couldn't be persuaded that the development wouldn't drive down property values.

SOME AUGUSTA COMMISSIONERS who did not object to the project when it was proposed sided with the residents and joined members of the local legislative delegation to kill it.

In this venture, the housing authority laid out the timetable well in advance for everyone affected -- Underwood residents who would be moved to other public housing complexes or given Section 8 vouchers and homeowners nearby. The agency hopes this project will provide the impetus to replace all of the city's barracks-style public housing complexes with apartments, townhouses and, in some cases, detached homes where the poor and middle class live side by side.

Arfman said other public housing complexes, naming Cherry Tree Crossing and Dogwood Terrace, are definitely on the authority's radar.

Whether those projects get done depends a lot on what happens at Walton Oaks, Arfman acknowledged.

"If it is a success, it will be a big feather in our cap and will allow us to go forward with other plans," he said.

Project overview

Underwood Homes public housing project is being replaced by a $30 million mixed-income complex called Walton Oaks, which is being built in four phases.

- PHASE 1: The Legacy at Walton Oaks (senior), 75 units (12 public housing, 63 tax credit); construction started October 2010; completion date set for December 2011

- PHASE 2: Walton Oaks (family), 75 units (14 public housing, 61 tax credit); construction start date set for October 2011; completion date set for December 2012

- PHASE 3: Walton Oaks (family), 75 units (14 public housing, 61 tax credit); construction start date set for October 2012; completion date set for December 2013

- PHASE 4: Walton Oaks (family), 75 units (14 public housing, 61 tax credit); construction start date set for October 2113; completion date set for December 2014

Comments (42) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 09:38 am
0
0
Excellent. Just want I

Excellent. Just want I wanted to see this Monday morning as I show up to earn more money for myself and to pay tax money for those who WON'T provide for themselves.

I'll bet a brief survey of the intended residents will show plenty of tatoos, fake nails, decent cars, flat screen TV's, cable, cell phones, etc.

More government entitlement projects. What a total waste of money.

raul
4539
Points
raul 03/07/11 - 09:46 am
0
0
Welcome to the USA, the only

Welcome to the USA, the only country that rewards underachievement!

DawgnSC69
257
Points
DawgnSC69 03/07/11 - 09:59 am
0
0
Why work for something when

Why work for something when the government will provide it for you for doing nothing? It's a no brainer. People will conitnue their dependence as long as we keep giving them everything.

seenitB4
85168
Points
seenitB4 03/07/11 - 10:02 am
0
0
Right on raul...we not only

Right on raul...we not only reward underachievers we will reward illegals for coming to this country & breaking our laws.....can you say Stupid Americans wake up..wake up...have we had enogh yet!!
Change is coming....we saw a little change last November------maybe we can finish the job in the next election.

Jim-bob
1
Points
Jim-bob 03/07/11 - 10:19 am
0
0
Augusta, The Welfare City

Augusta, The Welfare City

burninater
9396
Points
burninater 03/07/11 - 10:47 am
0
0
Tax-payer subsidized housing

Tax-payer subsidized housing and services allow businesses to keep wages for unskilled labor artificially low. If we eliminate these services, small business owners (particularly the low-skill workforce franchise model) will take a hit until they adjust their cost structure accordingly, as much of their labor pool will no longer be able to afford the basic amenities on their current wages. In the long term, the labor market will more efficiently respond to true market forces.

Remove tax-payer funding of the free market, and allow wages to be determined on the basis of real costs of living.

dichotomy
31990
Points
dichotomy 03/07/11 - 11:10 am
0
0
And how much is this little

And how much is this little giveaway subsidy program costing the taxpayers? How about coming out on the south end and tearing my house down and building me a new one and then paying me a subsidy to rent it or buy it from you?

Based on the description and subsidies the headline should read "New Bait and Switch Public Housing Project Will Replace Old Public Housing Project".

corgimom
31080
Points
corgimom 03/07/11 - 11:20 am
0
0
I can't imagine anyone

I can't imagine anyone complaining about low-income housing for seniors.

My plans are to eventually go into senior housing.

But I wouldn't set foot in that place- I have no desire to live with criminals. I've done it before, don't want to do it again, and that's who congregates in low-income housing. They stay with mom/girlfriend/babymama/aunt/cousin/friends in between prison sentences.

They should give deputies free housing. They'd earn their rent and then some.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 11:24 am
0
0
corgimom. Seniors have had

corgimom. Seniors have had an entire lifetime to work and save. They get monthly social security checks. Their healthcare is mostly covered by medi-care. I am opposed to low income housing - for everyone.

Seniors & folks who can't afford to live on their own should go and live with family or friends, not rely on me, the U.S. taxpayer to support them - heck, I don't even KNOW them and I'm paying for their housing!!!

End the nanny state!

sassylassie
442
Points
sassylassie 03/07/11 - 11:42 am
0
0
Chillen, I hope you never

Chillen, I hope you never need a home when you grow old. These folks have already paid their debt to society and most have worked all their lives. They, and the disabled ( and I mean disabled to the point where you cannot work, not "disabled" fat and lazy), should receive some assistance in the form of housing. Many of these individuals have no family to take them in. And contrary to belief, medicare provides little in the way of real health care.
Instead, get rid of this Section 8 baloney. No working person/ family in their right mind is going to want to live next door to someone who sits at home all day and collects a check while doing nothing but allowing other riff raff to "stay" with them. This is a mess waiting to happen. I say turn the whole projet here into a secure place for seniors to live and provide an incentive for a few officers to live there as well. You might as well be looking at another Underwood with this not-well-thought-out plan. I'm with Corgi on this one.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 11:56 am
0
0
sassylassie. If I need a

sassylassie. If I need a home, I'll pay it myself or live with family. I would NEVER move into a place like this. Nor would I ask some hard working stranger to pay for me to receive freebies like this. It's Un-American.

They've "paid their debt to society" by working all their lives. Really? And for their work (obviously without saving a dime) we should pay for housing for them?

Taxpayers cannot afford this. It's the cold, hard facts. 99.99999% of them do have family and if they don't they should live with friends & share expenses. 2 or 3 seniors sharing a small hour or a large apartment to consolidate expenses would be a good thing for them.

No one bothers to do that anymore because mommy government is there to save the day.

sassylassie
442
Points
sassylassie 03/07/11 - 11:58 am
0
0
Chillen, what about our

Chillen, what about our veterans who have no family or were providing for their families and serving their countries and weren't able to keep a great deal of money? They need our assistance. Sure, I help and have helped take care of (financially and otherwise) my elderly family members. But so many have no one to help them.
I personally am tired of my tax money funding housing, food, and medical paychecks for baby mamas without baby daddies. Take my money for our seniors, veterans, and the truly disabled like Easter Seals or the Training Shop for the Handicapped. Wish we could check off on a ballot where we want our tax dollars to be spent each year, not check off who else can spend it. Wouldn't that be an interesting thought?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 12:04 pm
0
0
sassy, I'm not an expert in

sassy, I'm not an expert in military retirement but its my understanding that if the spouse dies then the widow keeps getting their retirement pay. Plus they would get social security (theirs or their spouses, whichever is higher). Perhaps some military retirees on here would be able to enlighten us.

I agree with you about the working folks, but I also believe that elderly American's have, as I said, had an entire lifetime to plan for retirement. They are setting the example for all of society by living in "nanny status". Just wait until the baby boomers fully hit retirement age. You ain't seen nothin' yet! Talk about rising taxpayer expenses.

sassylassie
442
Points
sassylassie 03/07/11 - 12:10 pm
0
0
Many of our seniors didn't

Many of our seniors didn't make the kind of money that some people make now. They couldn't save a great deal because they were paying to take care of THEIR families. My grandparents worked their tails off all their lives, two of them in the military. Ideally we should all take care of our own. But some families refuse to suPport their elderly relatives. I've seen that myself. I don't think we should be asking our 80 year old grandparents to go back to work because they have to pay rent unless they want to. Sure, a group house effort might be a good idea. But there comes a point to where we all have to take care of our elderly. We don't have to take care of the lazy, uneducated, or third generation welfare takers. I think there is a big difference here.

seenitB4
85168
Points
seenitB4 03/07/11 - 12:11 pm
0
0
corgi,.....I don't mind

corgi,.....I don't mind helping seniors but something tells me some seniors will be the same folks who spent their $$ on big hairdos-fancy cars-drugs-long nails--etc.---you see what I mean here....true seniors in need would deserve some help.

faithson
5133
Points
faithson 03/07/11 - 12:14 pm
0
0
chillen, love your third

chillen, love your third world suggestions.. sounds like someone who lives in a gated community giving advise. I live in a neighborhood where the section 8 subsidy is bringing down the whole area. We definitely have a problem, I just don't agree with your attitude of 'let them eat cake'. I believe we can start to do something about those among us who have not taken responsibility for themselves by not allowing them to 'reproduce'.. mandatory contraception.. If you show yourself to be utterly irresponsible at taking care of your self and have become a social parasite, why would you be allowed to pro-create another generation.

countyman
19716
Points
countyman 03/07/11 - 12:31 pm
0
0
Let's keep up the good work

Let's keep up the good work around the city.. Atlanta doesn't have any more housing projects left in the entire city.. While Augusta has only demolished Gilbert Manor, Underwood, and parts of Laney Walker and Bethlehem..

After Sunset aka Cherry Tree Crossing and Southside aka Dogwood Terrace are demolished... Jennings Homes, Allen Homes, and Marion Homes..

Mix-income community are a good way to have seniors and regular citizens living there..

The mix-income community goes along perfect with the revitalization going on in Harrisburg, Central Business District, Deans Bridge rd/Dover street, Milledgeville rd/Sibley rd, Olde Town, Barton Village, Laney Walker, and Bethlehem..

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 12:45 pm
0
0
faithson. Third world

faithson. Third world suggestions? Asking folks to take care of their own families or asking people to ban together to save money instead of taxpayers footing the bill? Do explain. I anxiously await your explanation as to how this is third world.

I'm surprised at your mandatory contraception suggestion. I've thought of that myself but thought the lefties on here would go nuts.

Jim-bob
1
Points
Jim-bob 03/07/11 - 01:16 pm
0
0
Hey Countryman. What's your

Hey Countryman. What's your definition of a "regular citizen"?

corgimom
31080
Points
corgimom 03/07/11 - 01:55 pm
0
0
Chillen, I assume that in

Chillen, I assume that in your business, you have a lot of employees at different wage classifications.

Go ask your lowest paid hourly workers how much they save and if they could support themselves in retirement without assistance if they lived to 90.

I think the answers you get may surprise you.

It is now normal for people to live long past retirement age. The average length of time that a married woman is widowed is 17 years. My mother in law was widowed for 32 years, at age 63.

Many people who counted on pensions for retirement had them taken away and don't have anywhere near the money they need for retirement.

As for living with family-at one point, my mother thought my grandmother should live with us. There were 8 people living in a 1200 square foot house. My grandmother, who was elderly and sick, now had to cope with 5 kids. She hadn't lived with kids in over 35 years. She didn't know anybody, she couldn't go anywhere- she became very depressed and unhappy.

After 3 months, she went back home, and didn't come back. And she is the norm, not the exception.

And that's the way it is for most seniors. Elderly, sick people can't deal with kids and noise and drama anymore.

iLove
626
Points
iLove 03/07/11 - 02:04 pm
0
0
Atlanta has done this and it
Unpublished

Atlanta has done this and it "looks" great, but is it really a great idea?

Do you really think they would allow the typical type of person we have living in E. Augusta, to move back into these houses?

Underwood Homes had at least 300 elementary school students attending one school.

Augusta's demographics are being and have been moved around, particually in the DT area. The type of person we have living DT now will NOT be there 3-5 years from now.

Leaders FINALLY realize how much $$$ DT can generate.

corgimom
31080
Points
corgimom 03/07/11 - 02:03 pm
0
0
I've never seen a senior in

I've never seen a senior in low-income housing that spends money on nails, flat-screen tvs, the latest cell phone, etc. If they had money for that, they wouldn't be living there.

They are grateful that they have a place to live. All they want is peace, quiet, and safety to live out their lives. They are very poor, and barely get by even with assistance.

It is stunning to me that someone would think that helping people too old and sick to work is wrong.

burninater
9396
Points
burninater 03/07/11 - 02:32 pm
0
0
I do not understand how a

I do not understand how a "death panel" (a decision to deny coverage for a medical procedure that the individual cannot pay for out of pocket) is any different than denying food and shelter to an individual that cannot pay for them out of pocket.

I suppose the latter is "faceless", and therefore easy to dismiss as a natural event rather than a societal choice.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 02:57 pm
0
0
It's stunning to me that some

It's stunning to me that some here think that the government is a better caregiver than loving family and friends.

Families deny housing to elderly right now because they know the govt option exists. If it didn't, things would be totally different.

Our family breakdown is alarming. And it is supported by the liberal welfare policies of our US govt and certain citizens who enable them.

When family is too lazy or too uncaring to care for elderly family members, then we are doomed as a society.

seenitB4
85168
Points
seenitB4 03/07/11 - 03:00 pm
0
0
corgi...You missed my point..

corgi...You missed my point.. (if you were replying to my post) I meant that the same folks using their $$ for big hair-nails-fancy cars--etc. will be the seniors in years to come...more than likely they will have a $$ problem in their later years....because they spent their money on big cars-nails-tvs & etc. they won't have $$ for living expenses......so while I would like to have more vacations-fancy cars-rolex watch-eat at very expensive restaurants every week-out of this world clothes--I control those urges BECAUSE I want to be comfortable in senior years & not depend on others for the roof over my head & food on my plate...
Now.......we all know there are exceptions..I will gladly help them. :)

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/07/11 - 03:10 pm
0
0
seenitb4. I'm afraid there

seenitb4. I'm afraid there are not enough of you and I (self-reliant & self-sufficient individuals) to help this country out. We, the planners, have become the minority in selfish-land USA.

You hit the nail on the head. I can summarize the problem with 99.999% folks in 4 words. Failure to plan ahead.

dani
12
Points
dani 03/07/11 - 03:21 pm
0
0
Continuing to teach

Continuing to teach dependency..

burninater
9396
Points
burninater 03/07/11 - 04:18 pm
0
0
Many indigent individuals do

Many indigent individuals do not have loving family and friends to care for them. Whether this is due to mental illness, estrangement, or lack of surviving relatives or friends, they nonetheless exist. Many of the same mental or physical health factors that erode personal relations make it difficult for those people to have earned a sufficient wage to be able to save for retirement, not to mention to have the faculties to act as a financial planner.

Additionally, many in our society are blessed by the benefits of good mental health, good physical health, and a loving network of family and friends to help us stay on track to live healthily now, and to be able to plan effectively for the future.

Many of the blessed recognize that their success was not purely a product of merit, and that the lack of success of others was not purely a product of lack of merit. Some turn away from this knowledge, some are blind to it, and some seek to use some of their success to help mitigate the lack of success of others.

Yes, freeloaders exist. Does that validate turning a blind eye to those that legitimately have no other recourse? This is an important moral question, and the way we answer it in part defines who we are as a people.

If it dooms us as a country to have families that do not care for their loved ones, it equally dooms us to turn away from those who have no other alternative. Compassion should not be a function of genealogy.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 03/07/11 - 04:39 pm
0
0
Chillen you can go to

Chillen you can go to columbia county and do your survey if you so desire. Wedgewoood Park or Towneclub they enjoy our subsidies.

kmb413
533
Points
kmb413 03/07/11 - 05:30 pm
0
0
Being a veteran and being

Being a veteran and being retired are two separate things. I am a veteran, but am not retired. I have 4 more years in the reserves before I get to 20. If I don't get to 20 I still will be a veteran and will not have a military retirement. I also will not recieve my benefits for retirement (after 20) from the reserves until I am 60.

There are support groups available for veterans. Many of the veterans you see as 'homeless' have mental issues. They are provided health care through the VA. Many of them refuse to take the care or medications. VA health care is based on income. If I choose to go to the VA I have to pay a copay due to my income level. Others have to pay none. Veterans with line of duty injuries usually do not have a copay. This includes PTSD.

There is also a Veterans Nursing home.

For the wounded veterans, there are support groups such as the Wounded Warrior Project.

I am sure you can google more support groups for veterans and families. You may even find that they can get housing provided through some groups.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs