MCG's purchase to displace residents

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Former Augusta Mayor Bob Young said it was a "Christmas present" for the Augusta Housing Authority to get permission to sell Gilbert Manor to Medical College of Georgia. But to many who live there, it is a lump of coal.

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Shacovia Brown (right), 15, talks to her brother Tre'shon Williams (center), 13, her uncle Thomas Banks (inside) and neighbor Todd Richardson, 17. The teens said Friday that they are concerned about having to change schools and neighborhoods.  Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Kendrick Brinson/Staff
Shacovia Brown (right), 15, talks to her brother Tre'shon Williams (center), 13, her uncle Thomas Banks (inside) and neighbor Todd Richardson, 17. The teens said Friday that they are concerned about having to change schools and neighborhoods.

Mr. Young, the assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, announced Friday that the federal agency had given the housing authority permission to sell the 15-acre, 278-unit public housing development to neighboring MCG for $6.89 million.

"I feel like I'm bringing you a Christmas present," Mr. Young said.

The property, built in 1941, is "obsolete" and would cost more to modernize than it would to build a replacement. The primary reason for granting the request, Mr. Young said, is to get the residents in better housing. But longtime residents such as Barbara Gresham dispute that.

"There is nothing wrong with these apartments," said Ms. Gresham, 58, who has lived there since 1989. "I love it. I don't want to move. I don't want to go anyplace."

Like many others, she cites the close proximity to University Hospital and MCG Hospital and Clinics, in addition to convenient bus lines.

"It's a whole lot of people here who don't want to go," she said.

The authority will hold a meeting for residents at 3 p.m. Thursday and on Jan. 2, they will receive a 90-day notice to vacate, said authority chairman Rodger Murchison.

"Our primary concern is the residents," Dr. Murchison said. "So making sure this transition happens properly is our dedication to the residents of Gilbert Manor."

Staff members have already begun working with many residents on other options. Residents will be offered units in other public housing -- there are more than 140 recently renovated units in Olmstead Homes opening up soon -- or Section 8 housing vouchers.

But residents such as Thomas Banks, who has lived at Gilbert Manor for 15 years, said his voucher doesn't do him any good if he can't get out to look at apartments. And the money being offered to move isn't enough, he said.

There are practical problems with moving for many of the older residents, Ms. Gresham said: "These old people can't pack and a moving company is not going to pack you."

Looking down the road, the housing authority has plans to build $45 million in smaller, mixed-income developments in partnership with private developers using tax credits through the state of Georgia, said Housing Authority Executive Director Jacob Oglesby. They are looking at a couple of sites, but he said he could not disclose them yet because they are in negotiation.

The move is "a bold step to begin to deinstitutionalize poverty in this city, to no longer isolate Augusta's poor from the mainstream of Augusta's population," Mr. Young said.

MCG is planning a new building for the School of Dentistry and to expand the School of Medicine and both will now take place on the Gilbert Manor property, said MCG President Daniel W. Rahn. The University System of Georgia Board of Regents is asking the Georgia Legislature for $70 million for the dental school, which could include common areas and classrooms that could later be jointly used by the medical school. A plan for how to expand medical education in Georgia will be presented in January, but Dr. Rahn said he did not anticipate the Legislature will be asked to fund it next year.

The school is looking at several options for funding the Gilbert Manor purchase, Dr. Rahn said. That includes asking the city for "as much as the city can provide," he said.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said no formal request has been made "but the city is willing to do anything we can to help Medical College of Georgia expand in Augusta." That could be in the form of bonds because currently the city has little debt tied to its general fund and that would not take directly from the taxpayers, he said.

For the residents of Gilbert Manor, just finding a new home is the least of their worries. Shacovia Brown has lived all of her life -- 15 years -- in Gilbert Manor. If she has to go live in a new area, "I walk around the corner and some girls might want to jump me because I'm new," she said. "I don't want to leave here because this is my home."

The red and green tinsel and string of lights outside of Ms. Gresham's door is one of the few holiday displays visible throughout the complex.

"This place used to be so pretty and lit up for Christmas," she said, her eyes shining briefly with the memory.

"They're just ruining everybody's Christmas spirit."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

RESIDENTIAL MEETING

The Augusta Housing Authority will hold a meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday with Gilbert Manor residents to discuss relocation and services available to them. Meetings for those interested in the Housing Choice Voucher Program will be held Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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IMOinNA
0
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IMOinNA 12/22/07 - 06:55 am
0
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Jake that is a wonderful idea

Jake that is a wonderful idea but probably won't happen. And realisticly we all ride past these apartments if all the people that live there are given more up to date apartments then it is good for them but it is still moving some people from the home they have always known or at least known for a LONG time. Is there some guarantee that the single mother or elderly person that has no help will have someone come help them move? I think there are many more aspects to look at. Not knocking the idea or the plans I just think that the people living there aren't choosing to move, what resources are going to be provided to help them? If they had the money to move themselves and get themselves settled I am sure some of them would have already done so. They live in housing because they need it, so I am sure they don't have the resources to move. I will be anxiously waiting to see the way the city ends up helping with this one. It will show just how much humanity the city of Augusta really has.

Just My Opinion
7110
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Just My Opinion 12/22/07 - 07:09 am
0
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I am quite sure of 2

I am quite sure of 2 things...first, there WILL be people who either cannot find help to move or simply will not even make an attempt to find help to move...secondly, they WILL be moved, one way or another. The "powers-that-be" will make sure each one of them is moved and that these families don't have any excuses. It is sad that they have to move and be uprooted, but new oppurtunities are ahead for them. My suggestion, as far as moving help, is to pay any of the out-of-work able bodied Gilbert Manor residents to do it. That will not only provide a large labor pool to choose from, it'll give them some good, hard-earned money, and might also build a "neighbor helping neighbor" feel to it.

justus4
124
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justus4 12/22/07 - 08:54 am
0
0
This is a HOT one. First,
Unpublished

This is a HOT one. First, because it deals with race and will demonstrate the vast disconnect between black & white. Secondly, the responsibility of the local elected officials to provide resources to these families. Thats when whites (commissioners) will proclaim the boot strap theory and personal responsibility. The ignorant public and local media will question why their taxdollars are being used to help people relocate. Then, the commission will be front & center due to a split along racial lines, and it could get ugly. Recently New Orleans city leaders found that residents can resist, when forced to move. Hopefully, this case can be handled with more intellegence and compromise. My guess is fireworks!

bargainchic22
0
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bargainchic22 12/22/07 - 09:46 am
0
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CANT NEVER COULD!!! Everyone

CANT NEVER COULD!!! Everyone should be positive in this situation and just do what needs to be done...being stuburn and making the transition worse is not accomplishing anything! So if you cant work and make and living your self with out the help of government.. then suck it up and try! This is the time when FAMILY AND FRIENDS are most important, the government is lucky to help place who they can in other housing. But the longer you wait to to worse it will be so get in line and do it!

a crazy old man
30
Points
a crazy old man 12/22/07 - 09:58 am
0
0
Just don't move them South.

Just don't move them South.

BakersfieldCityLimits
1
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BakersfieldCityLimits 12/22/07 - 10:09 am
0
0
How about this: Go get a

How about this: Go get a job, BUY a house or RENT an apatment and then control how long you live there. STOP complaining when you are provided housing for 18 years. There will come a time when society is unable to afford to pay for those who are unwilling to provide for themselves. If you are disabled it is one thing, but to have had a free house for 18 years and not saved anything from your " check " ( welfare )
If you were to cut my pay in half, but let me live in a free house, in 18 years I would be better off than I would otherwise be. Enjoy what you are GIVEN, and keep quiet. In the end, I say if you don't like it, PAY for something else. I have met John Gualt.

halffull
0
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halffull 12/22/07 - 10:12 am
0
0
What is the "real" reason for

What is the "real" reason for selling these apartments? They cannot be repaired! MCG needs the space! To deinstitutionalize the poor, moving them to mainstream communittiees like Enterprize Mill or did I read it right, Olmstead Homes!
When the powers that be wants something done they pull out all the stops.

ivymist
0
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ivymist 12/22/07 - 10:31 am
0
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If they moved some of these

If they moved some of these people into Enterprise Mill I would be royally upset because that would just create larger problems in an area they had a hard enough time building up. If they just relocate people there, they will end up alienating both the people they move there, and the people living in the Manor who get put somewhere less desireable. Not to mention some of the less forgiving people living in Enterprise Mill with some sense of misplaced entitlement (those people are everywhere and we know it) would pack up and leave if it became TOO diverse of an income-ed community. I feel terrible for these people in Gilbert Manor, but I also think they should be realistic about where they relocate them. Someplace a little more middle-income where they are less likely to be shunned would be better.

TrukinRanger
1774
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TrukinRanger 12/22/07 - 10:39 am
0
0
I hope the "re-qualify"
Unpublished

I hope the "re-qualify" everyone... make sure their sorry kids or grandkids (of age) aren't shacking up... along with un-wed parents that have their boyfriends/girlfriends/cousins/auntees/uncles shacked up with them. It's way too easy to get public assistance- it should be reserved for those that actually need it. As for the 1st comment about MCG students helping them move....HUD is already going to pay for their move...that's part of the deal to allow the sale of the property.

royrdsjr
29
Points
royrdsjr 12/22/07 - 10:48 am
0
0
Oy Bob Young,both you & MCG

Oy Bob Young,both you & MCG are,& what both of you are doing to this neighborhood & to its people is,a real "Shande fur die Goyim."

i.b.e.w..electric
0
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i.b.e.w..electric 12/22/07 - 11:07 am
0
0
its not a racial problem

its not a racial problem justus ,its called progress.i hate to see these people have to move as much as anybody,but it was bound to happen at some point considering the location of gilbert manor.in the past people ,both black and white have been uprooted in the name of progress ,so to call this an issue of race is crazy.thats why augusta is stagnant ,nothing can get done and we can not modernize like other cities because our leaders are affraid of offending the black community.

JohnQPublic
5
Points
JohnQPublic 12/22/07 - 11:39 am
0
0
First Gilbert Manor and next

First Gilbert Manor and next should be the dumpy projects on Milledgeville Road and the ones off of Gordon Hwy. These places are ancient and can't possibly be up to code and are breeding grounds for trouble and drugs. Augusta needs decent, not minimal, housing just for the elderly poor. There are nice apartments only for elderly in other towns around the area, and the senior citizens keep them nice. Let the able-bodied young folks on housing, who have boyfriends, girlfriends, aunts, uncles and over 18 siblings living with them all unemployed, get mainstreamed into other rentals and into jobs so they can become self sufficient and get their behinds off of section 8!

scooter32
104
Points
scooter32 12/22/07 - 11:44 am
0
0
correct me if i am wrong, but

correct me if i am wrong, but wasn't this project the real reason why dave barbee lost his job with the housing? is this the situation that representative qunicy murphy and others are investigating?

no4word
0
Points
no4word 12/22/07 - 12:58 pm
0
0
What happened to personal

What happened to personal responsibility? These people that live in Gilbert Manor have lived off of my tax dollars long enough. How about I send them a bill for my rent? Are they willing to do what it takes to live honestly and do better for themselves? Not for all but for most not until they are forced to will they do any better for themselves. In my opinion, if the housing is free or nearly free then don't complain about having to pack or move a few items. If you don't foot the bill then you don't have the right to complain.

disgustedincolumbiacty
0
Points
disgustedincolumbiacty 12/22/07 - 12:59 pm
0
0
i say pack them up and send

i say pack them up and send them to columbia county,they could benefit from the diversity .let the kids get in the schools that think they are superior in columbia county .hey and just think if they go to lakeside or greenbrier the parents and coaches wouldn't have to cheat so much everyone knows that the inner city kids are much stronger and athletic than the spoiled little wimpy kids at these two schools ,go lakeside cheaters

WW1949
22
Points
WW1949 12/22/07 - 01:37 pm
0
0
no4word. I agree with you.

no4word. I agree with you. Why should a person who says I cannot afford a place to live say anything if they are given a place at the working persons expense. Just look at the picture of the healthy guy at the beginning. I bet he would not work if a job was laid in his lap.I do not feel sorry for anyone who lives on government assistance years after years. Move some of them to Columbia County so they can have some nonproductive citizens. Hooray for the MCG , the state of Georgia and HUD for making this public property available to create more construction jobs, medical jobs and services that these new building will need.

createyourfuture
86
Points
createyourfuture 12/22/07 - 01:52 pm
0
0
The residents of Enterprise

The residents of Enterprise Mill like living there. It is a far more diverse place than you might think. We also like our safety and proximity to work and downtown. We pay good money to rent here; we don't need to pay again for freeloaders to come into our neighborhood.

Atlanta razed East Lake Meadows and Techwood home for the same reasons: they could not repair the project. Now those areas of town are quite the place to live.

edst4
0
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edst4 12/22/07 - 01:55 pm
0
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marchman why even mention

marchman why even mention Columbia County?

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 12/22/07 - 02:00 pm
0
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70% of kids born in georgia

70% of kids born in georgia are paid for by medicaid, 51% qualify for school lunch. soon 40% of us can spend our weekends moving and cleaning for the other 60% that have been "located" next door. how long is everyone going to put up with this, failed schools, graduates that cannot read, subsidizing all bad behavior.

UncleBill
6
Points
UncleBill 12/22/07 - 02:35 pm
0
0
LaTwon, certainly there is a

LaTwon, certainly there is a lot of what you mention, and we should all be concerned about it. There is a real problem, but those stats seem kind of high. What is the source. Can you post a website re the number on MEDICAID and qualifying for school lunch?

dani
13
Points
dani 12/22/07 - 03:10 pm
0
0
I wonder if when my time

I wonder if when my time comes to move I can get help. It's expensive getting a moving company. Us single women who aren't on any of the programs have to do the best we can, are we really supposed to be sympathetic to people moving from tax-paid squalor into tax-payer paid cleaner, more updated housing? Boo-hoo..see i'm crying

a crazy old man
30
Points
a crazy old man 12/22/07 - 08:05 pm
0
0
Yeah, Columbia County would

Yeah, Columbia County would be perfect. they teach them to cheat in school so the dead beats that 's been cheating the goverment will do just fine there.

DEVGRU
0
Points
DEVGRU 12/22/07 - 08:22 pm
0
0
Gilbert Manor has been a

Gilbert Manor has been a source of crime for MCG for years. This will help to reduce the crime rate on the campus and make it safer for students and employees. And it's not necessarily the residents, but the influx of those visiting them.

DEVGRU
0
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DEVGRU 12/22/07 - 08:28 pm
0
0
There is a great little

There is a great little apartment complex at the corner of Henry Street and Monte Sano Avenue that would serve as great housing for some of the residents.

anotherlook
124
Points
anotherlook 12/22/07 - 08:38 pm
0
0
It appears that Richmond

It appears that Richmond County has been attempting to deal with the affordable housing issue for a number of years. There are the homeless, the ill-housed and the under-housed. The last two of which are not reported and may not qualify for much government support. The county's efforts to solve the problem span the construction of Barton Villiage, the replacement of Damascus Road Public Housing by the Non-profit First Tee, to the ongoing rehabilitation of Lake Olmstead and many others. Considering what other urban areas have done to address the generational legacy of poverty and urban decay, Augusta-Richmond county seems to have a workable plan. To place our children and young people in economically diverse areas will provide them with the opportuntiy to see a different way of life and possibly overcome the isolation that breeds failure and hopelessness. In order to facilitate Augusta's move forward, we must rely on the social networks in place to make this transition. Churches should be in the forefront to provide manpower. Grocery stores and moving companies donating, trucks, boxes, tape etc. can help. Let's all make this move forward together. There's 90 days and counting.

dallas tx.
1
Points
dallas tx. 12/22/07 - 08:54 pm
0
0
get jobs pack up and move on

get jobs pack up and move on buy a house or pay rent and stop having all this babys im broke from taking care of those people 18 years saving on free money tell your sorry babydads to pay they rent or move on.thats long time living off the working people fica has got to much money out my check.next time think before you we have all those kids use use comdoms!!!!!!!!!!

dallas tx.
1
Points
dallas tx. 12/22/07 - 08:56 pm
0
0
can they pay my rent for 18

can they pay my rent for 18 years !@!@!@!#

mdb67
9
Points
mdb67 12/22/07 - 09:06 pm
0
0
Time to move on and rebuild.

Time to move on and rebuild. Assist the elderly and guide the able!

As It Is
2
Points
As It Is 12/22/07 - 09:56 pm
0
0
If you think this is a racial

If you think this is a racial issue, you are a racist yourself - get a life. This is progress for a commnity that is dire need of revitiization, job growth, etc. Public Housing should be a stepping stone for those who need temporary assistance but instead as you can see from the article, many have live there for more than 10 years of of the money that hard working individuals are out there making. Then, to complain and be ungrateful that they are being GIVEN new housing just goes to show why all government give a way programs do nothing for do nothings. We are enablin individuals to live, eat, and talk on their cell phone for free. Money spent of food stamps, section 8 housing, welfare, tax credits, etc. for any lenght of time other than temporary assistance for US citizens of any race is a complete waste of taxpayers money and actaully hurts those we are trying to help because instead of tough love where they need to get jobs, we just give them everything. And, if you live in public housing, you should be required to be felony free and drug free with proper follow up. Assist the elderly who can not work, but for the others, its time for the birds to leave the nest.

WhatNow
39
Points
WhatNow 12/23/07 - 12:21 am
0
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A more appropriate headline

A more appropriate headline would be "MCG Purchase to RELOCATE Residents." They are simply trying to sell papers with the headline they chose. Now is a prime time to ACCURATELY investigate the financial situation of everyone who lives at Gilbert Manor. If they can work and have simply been sucking from the welfare teat, have them pack themselves and boot them out. If for health reasons they can't work, pack them and move them to another public housing area. Those who truly need transportation to the hospitals and can't afford it, have access to free transportation (provided by the government). I have yet to hear a legitimate complaint about this move from the residents of Gilbert Manor or any other bleeding heart liberal who is against this deal. Government housing is a privilege, not a right. Please stop looking the gift horse in the mouth!

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