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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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HenryWalker3rd
2393
Points
HenryWalker3rd 10/18/12 - 12:12 pm
8
0
Which side of town
Unpublished

Well its about time.

I wonder which side of town these families will be sent to...

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 10/18/12 - 12:17 pm
5
5
I wanted to see GRU take over

I wanted to see GRU take over the property, but everybody knew that Sunset/Cherry Tree was the next to go. The proximity to the Medical District, new Foundry Place development, GDOT 15th street widening, and the $1.8 million grant(15th, MLK, Deans Bridge).

The $30 million Walton Oaks did help improve East Augusta.

faithson
5531
Points
faithson 10/18/12 - 12:26 pm
15
5
OH NO

more section 8's out in the greater community. you think it is bad now, just wait richmond county residents, it is coming to a rental near you and you won't like what it brings, I promise. I live in what was once a very safe and nice 'hood', not any longer, all due to the dispersion of section 8.

boomhauer
650
Points
boomhauer 10/18/12 - 12:59 pm
2
0
Wow really...Ok everybody in
Unpublished

Wow really...Ok everybody in public housing is not bad, not drug dealers, and not criminals. Don't discriminate against the many because of the few knuckle heads.

dichotomy
37645
Points
dichotomy 10/18/12 - 01:03 pm
8
6
Look out South Augusta. You

Look out South Augusta. You are fixing to get some more state sponsored te.......errr......neighbors.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/18/12 - 01:09 pm
6
3
This will lead...
Unpublished

to more white flight...guess that inflated population figure estimate will take a hit now.

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 10/18/12 - 01:53 pm
5
7
The white population in

The white population in Richmond County is the fastest growing according to the census.. This is even after the year 2008(Gilbert Manor & Underwood). If they continue demolishing the housing projects over the next few years.. There's no way all of those people can remain inside Richmond County.

This will only lead to increasing the white population further. The $100 million Cancer Center/$76 million Medical Commons/$1 million Laney Walker pedestrian park in the Medical District. Multiple new developments in the Laney Walker/Bethlehem neighborhoods(i.e Foundry Place). Finally the $1.8 million grant, 15th street widening, Walmart neighborhood market/other amenities, the Cook Out at 1801 Walton Way in Harrisburg, and the demolishing of Cherry Tree in one small area of Augusta.

Urban/dense, pedestrian friendly, walking/biking distance to good public transportation/quality businesses/large employers equal success.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/18/12 - 01:48 pm
8
4
Where do you think they will go?
Unpublished

South Augusta...and then white people will leave. It's a documented fact.

Riverman1
94312
Points
Riverman1 10/18/12 - 01:58 pm
5
3
Whites In, Blacks Out?

Are we promoting a theme that it's advantageous to get blacks out of the city and bring more whites in? That seems...well, racist.

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 10/18/12 - 02:07 pm
4
4
Many of the people living at

Many of the people living at Gilbert Manor moved to the Peabody apartments. The property is located off Walton Way right in the Medical District.

The white flight argument related to the demolishing public housing can't stick. Those people left the older parts of South Augusta years before 2008(Gilbert Manor). Five Guys wouldn't be opening in South Augusta unless the population is growing, and had the income to support the franchise. The business came to West Augusta, Aiken, and then Evans last year.

Demolishing housing projects is for the better of Augusta, and has nothing to do with racism. The fact remains white people make up the majority of the united states.

Riverman1
94312
Points
Riverman1 10/18/12 - 02:07 pm
5
3
How can we promote getting

How can we promote getting more blacks to move into the city?

Riverman1
94312
Points
Riverman1 10/18/12 - 02:16 pm
10
1
Dave Barbee

When Dave Barbee said something very similar about demolishing projects causing the number of blacks in the city to decrease, Mayor Copenhaver threw him under the bus.

The fact is there are more blacks in Richmond Cty than any other race and their leaders are very reluctant to approve anything that compromises their numbers.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/18/12 - 02:18 pm
9
3
Ummmm facts seem to argue...
Unpublished

Woodlake, Apple Valley, Pepperidge, Glenn Hills, Meadowbrook Drive? Need I go on?

countyman
21687
Points
countyman 10/18/12 - 02:31 pm
3
5
All of those neighborhoods

All of those neighborhoods had problems well before 2008, and especially Meadowbrook/Glenn Hills/Apple Valley.. Woodlake and Pepperidge are pretty large, and a step above the others mentioned.

The 30 acre Sadie Landing subdivision underway is located right next to Pepperidge.
http://appweb.augustaga.gov/planning_zoning/plazid_display.asp?zID=4131

Leaders can't stop private developers from building up the urban core. Which tends to attract young families, gays, empty nesters, young professionals, college students, etc.

F4therTime
4656
Points
F4therTime 10/18/12 - 02:29 pm
7
3
Doesn't matter when the problems
Unpublished

started it matters that it shows us what happens when an influx of black people move into predominantly white middle class neighborhoods. White people leave.

kiwiinamerica
986
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/18/12 - 03:36 pm
0
1
ROFL....
Unpublished

So who's the brave man who's going into Cherry Tree to tell them that they're all going to be thrown out??

I advise body armor....

Mr803
17
Points
Mr803 10/18/12 - 03:48 pm
4
6
Somebody's Home

For one, I can't believe people are posting comments about black people leaving and white people moving in.. I guess we still live in the 50's /60's... Regardless of how some people feel about the area, that's somebody's home. Childhood memories, growing up with friends, and etc. Not everybody who is from the hood a bad person. It's some white people who stay in the hood too, do that make the neighborhood bad? It's some white people who stay in nice neighborhoods and they get in trouble just like anybody esle regardless where you from. Go check out your local jail report paper, you'll see. Either way, tearing down Cherry Tree is going to bring some tears to the poeple who lived there their whole life including the people who grew up there. I just hope whatever they build, they let the same people stay there. Just because you have green grass and a white picket fence doesn't mean what goes on inside the house is perfect too. Think about it for a minute.

kiwiinamerica
986
Points
kiwiinamerica 10/18/12 - 03:45 pm
1
0
The problem is the people not the buildings....
Unpublished

Is the underlying thinking behind this move the classical liberal dictum that if you take dysfunctional people from a ghetto, give them nice surroundings and better circumstances, they then prosper and become better people and model citizens?

I hope not, because it's dead wrong. They bring the ghetto and the misery with them and share it around in their new environment which then gradually and inexorably begins to take on the aspect of the neighborhood which they previously vacated.

allhans
24985
Points
allhans 10/18/12 - 03:47 pm
9
3
There is only so much we can

There is only so much we can endure until we deem it necessary to MOVE.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/18/12 - 03:53 pm
10
4
Downtown to share (again) a culturally rich experience.

Before any multi-single parent family is relocated.

I propose that the South Side set a example of equality and unification by allowing 75% to these citizens be re-housed to west side and 25% to another sides of Augusta.

The South Side does not want to be accused of being greedy, by keeping this high profile, culturally rich experience and civic minded responsibility that offers so much to communities, to ourselves yet again.

We feel it is time to share this great opportunity with others.

triscuit
3266
Points
triscuit 10/18/12 - 04:02 pm
13
3
I don't know of anyone who

I don't know of anyone who would move because a black family moved next door, UNLESS, that family brings the 'hood with them. That said, I have 2 black neighbors that are wonderful. Their homes are well kept and there is no more activity at their houses than any others. I am glad they are there. However, there also have been a few black families that have moved in, and HAVE brought loud music, junk, and "visitors". Now, I don't care if it's white people moving in, if they also bring those same undesirable things, I don't want to live by them either. I don't think it's all a "color" thing...I think it's more of a class thing. And I have had (and still DO have) white neighbors that I wish would move because of their junky houses.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 10/18/12 - 04:13 pm
9
3
Cherry Tree Crossing

... coming soon, to a home near you!

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/18/12 - 04:47 pm
11
2
Mr. 803

PC people, Downtown, Democrats and liberals created the projects / aka: Ghettos, slums, a concentration camp type housing concept.

The road to Projects (hell for many) was paved with good intentions but never good results. Yes the area is out of the 50-60's it was designed then and filled up with people needing government assistance. Then in the 70-90's it became a place known for drugs, thugs and baby moma's and baby daddies.

Most of the good people who could afford, scrape enough together and moved out. What was left is about 1/4 good and 3/4 non-community types.

The Section 8 relocation process as proposed vs. applied are too totally different things. The Government just moves them into a house. Many have zero understanding of what it means, or what is expected to live in a community. No lawn mower, dishwasher, in house washer, dyer and areas without a bus line to get around.

Before you go thinking racist. we personally helped our communities Section 8 family a few door up from us. We purchased food and items for them to help them get started. We loaned them our lawn mower. We transported the mother to work when the car was repo'd and again when the junker they got stuck with by a car dealer on Dean Brd Rd. died in the street. We know she pawned what she could, to cover utility deposits that she was unprepared for initially. When the single mother of 3 worked doubles to support her family the wife and I brought food for the kids. So we may not have been Sec 8 ourselves, by we have some idea what they go through being dumped into a culture they never have seen or lived around before.

As a closing example:

After about 6 months one of her Baby-daddies moved in with her. Within the month we started seeing a 180 change. The baby-daddy started walking the mile to the store for a 6 pack daily. He started bumming change at the store for sweet cigs and tall boys, the power was off for weeks at a time, hoses running from neighbors houses just to have water. Then small group parties until 2 or 3am on Fridays started. Then the misfits from a nearby apartment complex started hanging around until 2 - 4am. We had several drug busts on the street in less than 4 months. A meth, Oxy and dealer weight of weed busts. Car & house burglaries increased, small dogs started missing, and yard items disappeared. The Christmas presents we got her kids, we later learned were unwrapped, but not opened. They were returned in order to get the baby daddy his new smart phone and the list goes on.

So now what is your solution to the problem?

Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 10/18/12 - 04:44 pm
4
2
OpenCurtain

I see there are no responses to your post at 04:53 pm.

I think it is a good idea. Bravo, well said, and it made me laugh. Five thumbs up.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/18/12 - 05:04 pm
4
2
Thank you Tullie

It was easy.
I just used PC language to paint a situation in a less confrontational manner and while pointing out the positive sides of a problem.

PC talk is not much different than Company Sales Brochures.
There a grain of truth somewhere it is just how you present it.
As the sales joke goes: It may walk like a duck, quack like duck, but We sale it as a amphibious product converter that is produces a concentrated by-product that is rich in nitrogen and promotes organic growth.

Riverman1
94312
Points
Riverman1 10/18/12 - 05:15 pm
3
3
New Project

The updated article says the new project will be built at the same site. So what's the big deal? They find somewhere for the people to stay while it's built and then they move back in. Sounds like the same deal to me.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 10/18/12 - 05:34 pm
3
2
Riverman - though so at 1st

But reading deeper, I noted it was to become a Mixed Income community.

Based on previous documented Income figures, that could mean as much as 50% will be moved to other locations.

Or it is a sham and they will just refill the units with the same people, but in nice new apartments.

Admittedly the place needed demolishing 20 years ago and made fit for realistic and current occupancy requirements.

Riverman1
94312
Points
Riverman1 10/18/12 - 05:43 pm
7
2
I have no confidence in a

I have no confidence in a mixed income community especially after reading your comment about what happens when you mix Section 8 housing in neighborhoods.

Mr803
17
Points
Mr803 10/18/12 - 06:40 pm
3
1
Open Curtains and Tullie

To Open Curtains: I applaud the the good things that you've done for the community and the help that you have provided for the people, the only thing I was commenting on is when people comments were about black people moving out and etc like that is going to make everything right. The situation with the baby's father, that is on the individual who allowed that person to stay there and put up with that type for behavior. I know that the projects was bulit for good intentions but sense you want to get PC, then we need to get ride of the drugs all together. I'm sure the people that sit in the high places can stop the drugs and lets be clear, drugs was not a problem until it hit the white community, but that's a whole another conversation. If getting rid of ghettos/projects is the solutions then lets get rid of the trailer parks too b/c crimes go in there too. I'm from "Bradleyville" in North Augusta and lived there my whole life. Does that make me a bad person? Today, I'm in the military serving my country PROUD!!! you know why, b/c the family/friends that I hung around looked out for me and pulled me back when ever I was going down the wrong path. All I'm saying is, regardless of where you live at, if you don't have a positive influence in your life, you will go off track down the wrong path. So don't think just b/c I didn't respond in a timely manner that you won the battle. PC is just another way to run from the truth.

And For Tullie: Speak up for yourself and have your own voice; don't be follower...

Mr803
17
Points
Mr803 10/18/12 - 07:10 pm
4
7
Open Curtains and Tullie

No Response!!! *hearing the crowd cheer as I walk to the podium*

Thank you, thank you I greatly appreciate the applause; I really do...

My first action is to get rid of all the ignorance and bigot minded people who still exist to this day.

My second action would be if your going to talk tough and hide behind the computer screen; for every ignorant comment anybody post, why don't your leave you home address so I can come pick you up and drop of you off in these project/hoods to see if you would say the same thing to them in front of their faces.

*Sign some autographs, kisses a baby on the forehead, shakes hands....God bless you and goodnight!!!!

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