Originally created 12/15/01

Families get homes for the holidays



AIKEN - Annie Bowman said her attention wandered as she strolled through her new home at 117 James Town Court and spoke of what it will soon be.

The beige three-bedroom house, complete with spacious living areas and landscaped yard, will be home to Ms. Bowman, her 17-year-old daughter, April, and her mother, Rosie Patton.

The family's recently constructed home is one of 11 at James Town Court unveiled this week by the Aiken Housing Authority, a branch of city government tasked to construct quality, low-income housing throughout the area.

The group is able to sell homes at discounted rates by using loans from the city and state grants. The James Town Court project - including construction and water and sewer service - cost almost $900,000, Aiken City Manager Roger LeDuc said at the open house ceremony off Chesterfield Street.

"I love it," Ms. Bowman, said with a proud smile. "It will be pleasing."

The Housing Authority completed 18 similar homes this spring on Kershaw Street and has plans to construct 25 more at Camellia Street and Sundy Avenue, Mr. LeDuc said.

"We wanted to make this an established neighborhood up front," Mr. LeDuc said, adding that the city and the housing authority want to build 50 low-income homes a year.

Mr. LeDuc said the goal is to rehabilitate areas of Aiken that have substandard housing. The James Town Court neighborhood had been undeveloped land.

Aiken City Council members and those who helped complete the James Town project appeared impressed by the new subdivision.

"It's a very nice project," Councilman Dick Smith said as he toured Ms. Bowman's home with her, her family and her friends. "It's very livable."

Mayor Fred Cavanaugh said completing the homes so close to Christmas made it even more special. Ms. Bowman said she hopes to celebrate the holiday in her new home.

"I know it's going to be super," she said.

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.