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Augusta's largest public housing complex set to be demolished

New units to replace Cherry Tree Crossing

Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 1:04 PM
Last updated Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 2:10 AM
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Augusta’s largest public housing project is officially scheduled for demolition and replacement with a new mixed-income apartment development at the same spot.

Cherry Tree Crossing, Augusta's largest public housing development, is slated for demolition. About 400 families will eventually be moved.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Cherry Tree Crossing, Augusta's largest public housing development, is slated for demolition. About 400 families will eventually be moved.

On Tuesday, Augusta Housing Authority will begin meeting with about 400 families housed at Cherry Tree Crossing about plans to move them, starting in June after schools let out, said the authority’s executive director, Jacob Oglesby.

The endeavor, which requires formal approval by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will follow the same model as Walton Oaks, an east Augusta mixed-income apartment complex that is replacing, in phases, the former Underwood Homes at the same location, Oglesby said.

“As we finish that one, we’re moving on,” he said. “Cherry Tree was a likely candidate for that.”

The plan probably accommodates Georgia Department of Transportation’s scheduled widening of 15th Street and the city’s master plan for redeveloping the 15th Street-Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard corridor, although Oglesby wasn’t certain Thursday how all those pieces will fit together.

It also follows a trend in public housing of replacing barracks-style residences for low-income residents with mixed-income developments built through public-private partnerships.

“We all need to get away from that model (to) more of a mixed-income type model,” Oglesby said. “That’s what we’re moving toward.”

Built in the 1950s, Cherry Tree is in Augusta Commission and school board District 2 but will move into District 1 in January after a new district map goes into effect.

District 2 Commissioner Corey Johnson said it was good for Cherry Tree residents to know.

“There has been a lot of talk about it, whether it would be redeveloped or torn down,” Johnson said Thursday after a meeting of housing authority members, commissioners and Augusta legislators, where all were briefed on the plan for Cherry Tree.

“(Some residents) thought MCG was going to get it, close it down and move them out,” Johnson said. “Now they know for sure, and people won’t think they don’t have anywhere to go. They are going to have options.”

Although many families have made Cherry Tree home over the past 50 years, it was likely time for the complex to go, Johnson said.

“It’s time, for the redevelopment and the quality of life there,” he said. “It’s past time. Cherry Tree has an impact on Bethlehem, an impact on Turpin Hill, on Paine College and MCG. It’s not going to be an easy process, but at the end of the day, because of the fact that the units are so old, and there’s just not enough positive things going on right now.”

The housing authority has learned a lot since nearby Gilbert Manor housing project was demolished in 2009 to make way for Georgia Health Sciences University’s new dental school, Oglesby said. One of the biggest lessons was in working with families of school-age children and the school system to ensure their education wasn’t interrupted, he said. The authority also learned that some residents “preferred the safety net of public housing” to negotiating rents and dealing with landlords in privately owned homes.

Some of those residents “did not fare well,” and after not succeeding in the Section 8 system “were killed out” and left to fend for themselves, Johnson said.

Oglesby said resident options will include moving to other housing authority developments, to senior apartments or to privately owned housing using vouchers.

Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, said at the meeting that he hoped this time the authority would track residents’ transitions from the development to new homes.

“You’re talking about in less than a year, starting to move people out,” he said.

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he hoped Walton Oaks residents could serve as “advocates” for the relocated residents.

District 1 Commissioner Matt Aitken, who will gain the 30-acre Cherry Tree site if he’s re-elected to the commission Nov. 6, said District 1’s Walton Oaks is a good model.

“People are very pleased with that across the spectrum,” he said.

When all phases are complete, Walton Oaks will consist of 300 units, with 30 percent reserved for very low-income families, Oglesby said.

HUD approval of the Cherry Tree plans is likely, and the housing authority has a meeting with residents in the Cherry Tree community room scheduled at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oglesby said.

Relocation options will become available in June, but the entire endeavor will take several years to complete, with construction unlikely to begin until 2014 and the new apartments to open in three or four phases of 75-100 units each. The authority will continue to reoccupy units until demolition starts, meaning no boarded-up units, he said.

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CobaltGeorge
165061
Points
CobaltGeorge 10/18/12 - 08:52 pm
3
6
Posted Before

I am so darn glad I don't live in Richmond County. When I came to GA in 1974, bought a house in Spanish Trace outside of Gate #5. It was 6 months before my Degree in Common Sense told me to get the hell out and I did. Cobalt Park is such a peaceful world.

I trully feel what you folk are going through daily, both White and Black. Regardless what propaganda countyman preaches, it will never change but get worst. Past history and the handwriting on the wall is the road to your future.

countyman 03:07 "The fact remains white people make up the majority of the united states." YES, but not in the Augusta Area.

countyman
20628
Points
countyman 10/18/12 - 09:24 pm
4
4
West Augusta, Summerville,

I used to live in Columbia County, and it's nothing special compared to Richmond. West Augusta, Summerville, Forest Hills, etc are much richer/safer than multiple areas inside of Columbia County. The comments are laughable when all you have to do is compare the real estate prices of West Augusta versus Grovetown or Harlem. Costco opened in West Augusta, and would never locate to either of those places.

Please explain the propaganda? Are you denying their building a Five Guys in South Augusta? The new restaurant at Colony Plaza was approved today.
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=4384

People like Colbalt should be worrying about the areas in their own county. The Old Evans, Old Petersburg, and Blue Ridge Drive area of Martinez is a good example.

They also need to ride through the CBD, Olde Town, Waters Edge, and Summerville. The majority of the population moving in is white, and blacks/asians/hispanics to an lesser degree.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 10/18/12 - 09:43 pm
1
5
stretching it

Waters Edge is an established (and very tiny) neighborhood that is nearly 20 years old. If someone is moving in and happens to be the color of.. i dunno a kumquat. Its likely because someone who lived there kicked it and their family didn't want/need the house.

I don't see how this is an efficient use of government resources. Tearing down perfectly good brick homes. But heck. At least they aren't going to build an overpriced on the taxpayers ball park there.

CobaltGeorge
165061
Points
CobaltGeorge 10/18/12 - 09:45 pm
6
3
HA, Me Worry

With over 3000 acres, 1 mile 360* all around me of nothing but untouchable timber land, naaa.

As far as those areas that you mentioned, no problem. When they get to the condition of some of your areas in Richmond, Columbia county, CCSD and the citizens will eradicate the problem overnight.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/18/12 - 11:35 pm
7
3
Duh!!!
Unpublished

Of course nobody would let you drop them off to say it in their face. We all know how dangerous it is there. How they protect their own and do not cooperate with police in one breath then complain in the next about no police presence. It's a known fact when low rent people (color does not matter) move into middle class neighborhoods good hard working families move elsewhere. Those that can always will. That's not racism that's intelligence. Only a moron or someone without the means to move would raise a family in a dangerous neighborhood.

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/19/12 - 12:25 am
1
1
Absolutely correct F4ther Time!
Unpublished

The only thing they do is ruin good neighborhoods by trying to mix them. People work hard to afford homes in nice neighborhoods and shouldn't be run out by a bunch of irresponsible people placed there by a bunch of ignorant bleeding hearts lacking common sense and doing it just to make themselves feel better.... all at the monetary and social expense of the neighbors they are chasing out. countyman's reference about the white population is laughable considering the fact that it mostly consists of more entitlement breeders. Stop tearing down these projects an infecting the rest of the area. If these people want better lives, let them earn it. Don't care about the excuses of why they can't.... the one thing they could do is not make their situations worse and use the free birth control... they won't! Make you bed...lay in it! County man is right about one thing though... The Martinez area. We worked hard to get out of RC crap only for section 8 and low income apartments to become allowed and turn this place into the same trash we ran from in RC. A lot of them are just trash relocated from RC. Sickening. Very few on these programs are the exception... trash is the rule!! What did these people do to deserve to increase their quality of life?? NOTHING. The only thing they put any effort towards is making babies, getting out of working and getting stuff for free. What have the done to worsen it for them and everyone around them?? Everything!! Breed, crimes, laziness, disrespectful, trashy etc.... Now all the good people are getting out of dodge again. Thanks a lot you bleeding heart losers who reward lazy immoral behavior and punish hard working honest citizen!!

GaStang22
910
Points
GaStang22 10/19/12 - 12:28 am
1
0
Waters edge??
Unpublished

Haha, once again just because they are white means nothing. I know of quite a few lazy gov't scammers who are big drug addicts and dealers. You only see what you want to see.

Ruckus
467
Points
Ruckus 10/19/12 - 02:00 am
5
0
Change

Its time to make a change and so many people are afraid of it.

Riverman1
87124
Points
Riverman1 10/19/12 - 04:39 am
5
3
From an article today:

From an article today: "Sheriff candidate Richard Roundtree ... said that Augusta’s dynamics are on the verge of change but that voters have to push it."

“We have a chance to be a part of something great,” Rountree said. He said every voter has a chance to say, “I was there when Augusta took back the government. I was there when we ran the good old boys out of town.”

I not sure Countyman's assertions whites are increasing in Richmond Cty. squares with the hopes of these folks. They feel like they are on the verge of a rightful, complete takeover of Augusta and that depends on them keeping the numbers in their favor.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 10/19/12 - 06:22 am
5
3
Excuse me Roundtree

Just wonder what would he say if Freddie said this...
“I was there when Augusta took back the government. I was there when we ran the good old boys out of town.”

Insert your own words on there.....what is good for the gander is welll you know the story.....

A hamburger joint in south Augusta....why ctyman that is just AMAZING.....I might venture down to take a look/see......wow man...

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 10/19/12 - 06:32 am
4
2
Ruckus

You want to talk about change....ask the good folks in Clayton & Dekalb county just how they feel about their school system...Clayton has lost accreditation & could possibly lose it again....& Dekalb has been warned ......not a change they wanted ...
Too many wanting to be chiefs & not enough responsible adults thinking about the students.....wow...what change...now the sensible adults will leave the county.....just like Cobalt said......his common sense kicked in ....this happens over & over & then folks say WHAT HAPPENED HERE....duh duh duh...
Yep...they ran the good ole boys outta there...

blues550
380
Points
blues550 10/19/12 - 07:21 am
1
0
Good Riddance
Unpublished

Tear it down and don't rebuild it. Ever.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 10/19/12 - 07:22 am
4
2
Mr Mayor said...

Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he hoped Walton Oaks residents could serve as “advocates” for the relocated residents.

Why don't YOU serve as an advocate & move some next to you.....step up & put your money you know where...

JRC2024
9341
Points
JRC2024 10/19/12 - 08:31 am
7
2
M803. Do you think they would

M803. Do you think they would be welcome. I doubt it. And why would anyone in their right mind want someone that is a Section 8 renter moving in next to them. It is just not right to upset a neighbor hood with people that have lived in government housing all their lives and know nothing about what it takes to run their life much less a household. They do not know the meaning of responsibility. I do not want them where I live.

CryoCyberTronics
392
Points
CryoCyberTronics 10/19/12 - 08:53 am
1
7
Why aren't more Caucasian

Why aren't more Caucasian people from augusta moving to Columbia county...??? Augusta was at it heights when the city population was 51% black...!!! Black people got to watch their backs. Malcolm X said it a long time ago...!!!

InChristLove
22481
Points
InChristLove 10/19/12 - 09:04 am
3
2
Five Guys on Peach Orchard in

Five Guys on Peach Orchard in South Augusta.....why? We already have a McD, Burger King, Wendy's, Sonic, Taco Bell, Zackby's, KFC and Checker's. Why another hamburger joint.......

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 10/19/12 - 09:13 am
1
1
Racism in America is dead

Racism in America is dead because we elected a black man to the presidency? A quick read through some these posts disqualifies that statement in a hurry.

How embarrassing for Augusta this thread truly is. Back in my day there was a song that pretty much summed it up. "Smile in your face".

Got my Obama sticker on the car yesterday. Sure are a lot of friendly folks out there with what must be arthritis in some of their digits waving at me.

A trick I learned along time ago. When somebody sends you a bird, answer with a flock of five. Gives me a laugh and confuses the heck out of the recipient.

soapy_725
43772
Points
soapy_725 10/19/12 - 09:14 am
0
0
Doesn't Five guys sell alcohol?
Unpublished

Just asking? Casual Family Dining with Alcoholic Beverages. It the fasting growing segment of restaurants.

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 10/19/12 - 09:19 am
0
0
Question of the dat. "What
Unpublished

Question of the dat. "What is the telephone number that citizens can call to complain about section 8 folks not being able to live in civilized society"? There ain't none. Plenty of money for these folks to spend helping but not one iota of concern about what their charges are doing to neighborhoods.

Little Lamb
47012
Points
Little Lamb 10/19/12 - 09:26 am
3
1
Relevance

Countyman asked CG:

Please explain the propaganda? Are you denying their (sic) building a Five Guys in South Augusta?

I'm having a hard time connecting Five Guys to Cherry Tree Crossing!?!?

Retired Army
17512
Points
Retired Army 10/19/12 - 09:28 am
1
0
InChristLove 10/19/12 - 09:04 am

Obviousley hasn't treated himself to a Five Guys Burger. Sorta like sayin' why do we need a Red Lobster, there's a Captain D's right down the street.

noxiousfumes
468
Points
noxiousfumes 10/19/12 - 09:39 am
8
2
With all the urban blight in

With all the urban blight in that area, they are going to have to tear down more than that complex. If you ever take a ride through that area on Lee Beard Way, Swanee Quintet Blvd., Bleakley St., and Poplar St. there are dozens of boarded up houses in major stages of disrepair. Nobody is going to move in a new complex with the neighborhood in the state that it is in currently.

I live in Turpin Hill; it used to be a quiet working class neighborhood. Now we have a lot of people who rent houses out to section 8 residents and you can always tell who they are by the number of cars and people that come in and out, how unkempt their yards are, and the loudness of the activity in the house.

I think the problem is that people who have lived in government housing all of their lives don't understand how to live independently. They need to be educated about the expenses of upkeeping a home, that unless they hire somebody or rent a lawnmower the grass won't be cut, and that they need to unfriend some of their acquaintances.

But the bigger task is with the homeowners of the rental properties. I would want to be selective of who rented my house, because I don't want it to be torn up by renters; I'm sure that some of these folks around here pay quite a bit to restore their homes when some of these people move out.

And please don't think I am racist; I am black, and most middle and upper class blacks are not happy with the portion of our community who insist that they need to stay on government assistance instead of getting an education so that they can move up in the world and become productive citizens.

itsanotherday1
45493
Points
itsanotherday1 10/19/12 - 10:05 am
3
2
An opportunity

for a new idea. Build it as a gated community with keys needed to get through the gate and into the building. Keep the riff raff out and the resident riff raff won't have as many playmates.

scratchthesurface
26
Points
scratchthesurface 10/19/12 - 10:18 am
0
0
I read all the comments and
Unpublished

I read all the comments and the one that sticks out is "Open Curtains & triscuit's"....I Totally Agree With You.....I'm gonna put it this way: I'm a young married black man with some college and military experience. I have a family that I raise with certain values and we have rules and order at our house. Now, I grew up in SouthSide(DogWood Terrace) and in Sunset(Cherry Tree), so I know about living in the so-called "Hood". I would not like it if someone from a low income neighborhood moved next to me and brought that same riff raff and commotion to my middle/upperclass neighborhood.....lowering my property value, committing crimes, break ins, drug selling etc. I HATE THAT MESS !!!! If you're coming with that same mentality, that I don't care mentality, that THUG mentality then stay in a FEMA trailer or somewhere else. I worked hard to change my life when I stayed down there. I refused to accept that lifestyle and have that mentality. I have young kids that are very impressionable and I want to raise and protect my family the right way and not have to worry about going to work, because some low life, non educated, refuse to get a job scum of the earth is waitng to break in to my house and steal everything I worked for.....so I don't blame people (black or white) for moving. I will move too if the riff raff moves to my neighborhood and start all that mess. *This is my most humble opinion*

Fools_and_sages
360
Points
Fools_and_sages 10/19/12 - 01:20 pm
3
1
Mixed income community = project waiting to happen
Unpublished

The city keeps thinking that if they simply build nicer housing or allow developers to build nicer housing than better quality people will move in and revitalize downtown. When you don't actually remove the reasons downtown is undesirable, people with money don't want to take the risk of moving down there. Look at all those $100k houses and townhomes that have been built in the Laney Walker area. I've been in Augusta for five years and some of those houses and condos have been on the market the entire time I've lived here. Nobody in their right mind will pay that kind of money for a house in that area of town because you are too close to East Augusta and Gordon Highway, which is basically a conduit to the gangland areas of South Augusta.

Now the city thinks creating mixed income communities will improve the downtown area. All mixed income communities are projects waiting to happen. They are an attempt to mix the poor in with working class and middle class people. It's an attempt to disperse the bad elements of public housing communities. The problem with planned mixed income communities is that the "haves" in the new community don't stay long because the "have-nots" often break into their apartments and cars and they don't feel safe because of the kinds of people who come visit the "have-nots." It also scatters the "have-nots" to other areas of town and shady real estate developers try to sell perfectly quiet and safe neighborhoods on luxury development projects when they, too, are really planning a mixed income apartment community to get in on the Section 8 bonanza. In the end, the Section 8 people have no where to go and the "haves" don't stay in the city's mixed income community, which means the city will end up with a housing project in the very area they were trying to improve by getting rid of the old project.

As far as those shady real estate developers go, they seem to like to target West Augusta. A couple months ago, a developer wanted to build a new apartment community on Augusta West Parkway. He said the units would be luxury apartments that would rent for $1000+ per month. When he was asked by local neighborhood groups what he would do if he couldn't fill his units at that price, he admitted he anticipated having a certain percentage of residents who were Section 8 recipients. The townhome communities that would have been neighbors to this new complex were worried about their property values, increased traffic, and the kinds of people a percentage of Section 8 renters would bring into their usually quiet neighborhood. The lawyers for the homeowners' associations created a battle over an access road that combined with the out-cry over the Section 8 issue to force the developer to withdraw the plans for his complex.

Sometimes, neighborhoods can stop the Section 8 "creep" when it involves new apartment complexes. It just has to be done before the developers break ground on these new complexes. And don't let these charlatans tell you they plan to rent to doctors, lawyers, nurses, etc at $1000 per month. I'm a Ph.D. and, with the low wages that are so prevalent in Augusta even for professionals, I can't afford $1000 a month for rent. That's why I bought a house and pay about $600 month instead!

Newsflash
1925
Points
Newsflash 10/19/12 - 02:42 pm
3
0
How long must .....................

How long must the government provide housing for people ? How many more generations wont have to hit a lick at a snake but cuss everybody that is gainfully employed and many of these slopping at Uncle Sam's trough will steal anything not welded down ? I see many able bodied people that appear to just loaf around and frequent these areas. And you better hope the section 8 housing does not end up near you. The section 8 homes have turned Crosland Park in Aiken into a war zone. An Iraq war veteran told me he felt safer over seas on patrol than he does driving through this area . I hope the elderly and incapacitated fair well in this but fear more of the same.Helping the elderly and those who cant help themselves is commendable. Providing a safe haven and hatchery for dope heads and prostitutes is criminal.

countyman
20628
Points
countyman 10/19/12 - 02:58 pm
3
1
The downtown(Central Business

The downtown(Central Business District) occupancy rate is 98%, and Cherry Tree is not the real downtown. People are flocking downtown, and to the surrounding areas(Olde Town & Summerville).

The Laney Walker project started around 2010/2011, and definitely not five years ago. Multiple homes in the Laney Walker neighborhood have sold, and have added over $3 million to the local tax base. A private developer is building student/senior housing on 12th street in the neighborhood.

I think some people need to visit other mixed-income communities across the nation, because Augusta is late to the party. People are forgetting the Foundry Place development. GDOT is widening 15th street, and the $1.8 million grant. The mixed-income community is only one piece to the puzzle.

Several apartments rent for over $800 in West Augusta(Parc at Flowing Wells, Brigham Woods, Century Hills, Century Glen, Estates at Perimeter, etc)..

Grandpa Jones
1063
Points
Grandpa Jones 10/19/12 - 04:06 pm
2
0
Just curious

How come this article gets over 45 posts but isn't on the "most discussed" list but all those anti-Obama/democratic articles with less posts are???

T.More
207
Points
T.More 10/19/12 - 05:47 pm
2
0
"People have lived there their whole life..."

Why do people call it racism when decent taxpayers of all races are just sick of footing a bill for a broken down community and ultimately a broken down system?

Did McCord interview any of the residents? She was probably too scared to go into the neighborhood. We have newspaper people in this country in Syria and on the different fronts for the "War on Terror," but not Cherry Tree Crossing. Luckily, the television newscasters are bolder. If anyone watched the local news last night some residents of the neighborhood were interviewed. None seemed pleased about the prospect. One even indicated she had lived there for 40 plus years. This is the greatest argument against the Welfare State. Most (note: I did not say all) members of this neighborhood do not want better homes, different neighbors and a cleaner community. That is the very definition of institutionalized. The institution is that of Welfare with no accountability, no checks, and no balances, just talking points for politicians. In many states in the United States, if you allow for an active parolee/probationer to live in your government provided housing, you receive a warning. If you do not comply, you lose your housing privileges. It is privilege, not a guarantee to have taxpayers foot the bill for someone to be able to live, eat and be educated.

The last several times I was behind someone (no matter the race) using an EBT card they had the cart stacked to overflowing with steak, seafood, formula, junk food and soda. I go into the grocery store and drop $150 dollars and walk out with five/six bags with maybe chicken, bologna, eggs, milk and vegetables. What is wrong with this picture? I have known of many who sell their EBT benefits to others because they just get too much in food assistance every month. There has been no real change in the system, no holding people accountable for their own paths in life.

By the way the 2010 census statistics are the following: The racial makeup of the city-county area was 54.7% Black or African American, 39.1% White, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 1.3% some other race, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population. All these comments about whites coming back to the downtown, pushing blacks out, does not add up with the latest U.S. Census.

Riverman1
87124
Points
Riverman1 10/19/12 - 09:53 pm
0
0
About New Apartments

I was reading something the other day about a new "upscale apartment complex" that's going to be built out by Carmax off Wheeler. I read about the people involved and companies they've worked with in the past. The pattern is they sell most complexes in 2-3 years at a profit if things go as they plan. After that I suspect the upscale becomes something entirely different.

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