Cherry Tree Crossing residents learn more about demolition, relocation plans

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012 7:36 PM
Last updated 10:30 PM
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Buddy Oldfield (center) of the Augusta Housing Authority talks to tenants about how and when they will be moved from the Cherry Tree Crossing public housing development, which will be razed.   MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Buddy Oldfield (center) of the Augusta Housing Authority talks to tenants about how and when they will be moved from the Cherry Tree Crossing public housing development, which will be razed.

Many Cherry Tree Cros­sing tenants packed in a cramped community center cheered Tuesday when Au­gus­ta Housing Authority officials formally announced the planned demolition of the public housing development.

“This place is not going to be remodeled. It’s going to be torn down,” Director of Resident Services Buddy Oldfield said to applause.

More than 200 people crammed into the complex’s community center, and several dozen more overflowed into hallways and outdoors as officials explained the relocation process. The absence of a microphone and amplification system made it difficult for the crowd to hear, and a second meeting was scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at the request of residents.

Formal approval of the demolition from the U.S. De­part­ment of Housing and Ur­ban Development is expected in late spring. Then, a required mailing will be sent to residents giving a 90-day notification before relocation begins, Oldfield said.

“No one go home this afternoon and start packing up,” he said.

Demolition will make room for Augusta’s second mixed-income development.

Cherry Tree tenants were told they can choose to move to another public housing development or take a Section 8 voucher to apply toward privately owned housing that accepts the vouchers.

“Augusta Housing Author­ity has one mission, and that’s to help you with your housing,” board Chairman Rodger Murchison said. “If you live in Cherry Tree Cros­sing, you’re part of our family and we’re
not letting that family go.”

A few people thought officials planned to remodel Cherry Tree and move them back in. The crowd applauded announcements that relocation for families with school-age children will be done during the summer.

Relocation experts will meet with residents four to five times to determine new housing that fits needs for bedrooms, school zones and other priorities, Oldfield said. A moving company will be provided to move residents for free, or a resident can take the money that would be used and hire their own movers.

Resident Eliza­beth Hill wants a voucher to move her 12-year-old granddaughter out of public housing.

“I’m ready. I’m ready to go,” Hill said. “They are telling me what I want to hear.”

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Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 10/24/12 - 04:55 am
The pictures that go along

The pictures that go along with this article could've had a different directive along with them...instead of "Buddy Oldfield (left)" or "Buddy Oldfield (center)", they could've instead said "Buddy Oldfield (the only white guy in the room)". Just thought it was funny.
As far as Cherry Tree Crossing being torn down, I'll have to admit that I'm going to miss it! Believe it or not, it was a place of my childhood. Back when I was in the 6th and 7th grade, during those "forced bussing" days, we were bussed all the way down to Collins Elementary, which was smack in the middle of Sunset Homes. Oh, I'm going to miss those days of our bus driving through Sunset and having rocks, bottles, and even a TREE BRANCH thrown at us!! Now, to be honest, that only happened the first couple of weeks after "forced bussing" started...after that, it never happened. And I'll miss the wonderful smell of Colonial Bread in the morning! Yeah...that's about all I'll miss of going down there.

Tullie 10/24/12 - 06:40 am
Colonial Bread

I knew someone that worked there. Baking bread smell..made your mouth water :o)

beboisme 10/24/12 - 07:09 am
Before this actually happens

Before this actually happens to the residents a class or two of how to make a smooth transition into a new neighborhood and community should be on the agenda and required before any vouchers are given out. Teach those the simple basics of how to live amongst those that take pride in their yards and homes in the neighborhoods and can contribute by taking care of where they live inside and out.

CABoatright 10/24/12 - 07:15 am

Intensive retraining on "How to appreciate what you're GIVEN."
Just a thought...are we paying to move them too????

seenitB4 10/24/12 - 08:46 am
Forced anything doesn't work...

This will be interesting to watch .....some counties might be in for a surprise...

rebellious 10/24/12 - 09:05 am
Public Housing

I would encourage you all to travel Milledgeville road between Gordon Hwy and Wheeless Road to view the beautiful new public housing complex. And I am being serious, it looks great. The reason it is important to view it now is so you can contrast how it looks five years from now. The true definition of "You didn't build that"

countyman 10/24/12 - 11:30 am
East Augusta Commons, Cherry

East Augusta Commons, Cherry Tree/Sunet, etc is the definition of public housing.

I've never heard of public housing including single family homes. The new Endinburgh community off Gordon Hwy doesn't equal public housing. The first phase(72 units) is for elderly people. The second phase(homes) is targeting families

beboisme 10/24/12 - 04:23 pm
You are correct countryman

You are correct countryman Edinburgh and you can clearly see how the seniors are taking good care of their stretch of neighborhood.

Riverman1 10/24/12 - 07:35 pm
It would be interesting to

It would be interesting to track where these people end up.

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