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City’s annual action plan open to public review, comments

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POSTED: March 28, 2011 9:34 a.m.

Hinesville’s Community Development Department unveiled its annual action plan to a room empty of local residents Thursday evening inside the city’s municipal courtroom.
Hinesville grant writer Michelle Lane presented an outline of the plan the city will submit to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in application for the 2011 Entitlement Grant.
Lane said the city expects to receive an estimated $324,000 in entitlement grant funds. Of this total, $48,600 would be distributed to public service agencies, $85,600 would fund the city’s continuing Azalea Street redevelopment project, $125,000 would fund owner-occupied (home) rehabilitation and $64,800 would fund program administration.
Comments from the public also will be included in the final draft submitted to HUD, confirmed HCDD Assistant Director Donita Gaulden.
“Community input is solicited to identify specific projects and activities the city will undertake to address the priority needs as identified in its five-year Consolidated Plan covering years 2009-14,” Gaulden said in a news release.
Gaulden said the action plan will be available for public review at the city’s community development department and a comment sheet will be attached. The department will accept public input on the draft plan during the next 30 days, she said. The public comment period began Friday, March 25, and will end Monday, April 25.
The annual action plan is part of the city’s consolidated plan and “addresses the need for decent, safe and affordable housing for low- to moderate-income residents,” Lane said. The plan prioritizes and outlines the city’s objectives and strategies, she added.
Lane said for the city to be eligible to apply for such grants as the Community Development Block Grant, the HOME Investment Partnership and the Emergency Solutions Grant — which funds temporary shelter for the homeless — and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, it must submit the annual action plan and be evaluated on its past performance.
Nearly 10 years ago, the city, in partnership with the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, built affordable housing for low- to moderate-income families on Azalea Street after a 2001 study deemed the area had some of the city’s worst substandard housing. Hinesville and HDDA received a Downtown of Excellence Award last year for the Azalea Street redevelopment project from the Georgia Downtown Association and the Department of Community Affairs.
HDDA has a memorandum of understanding with the city allowing the authority to implement the project, because by law the city cannot sell or transfer properties to individuals.
Gaulden said Phase I on the Azalea Street Redevelopment project is complete and Phase II currently is under construction. The city will begin on infrastructure for Phase III shortly, she said.
Gaulden said seven homes in the project’s first phase are complete and occupied by lifelong residents of Azalea Street. Some of the other original residents are waiting for homes in Phase II to be completed. And four of the 12 attached townhomes now are occupied, she said. Eight townhomes now are open listings, though one of those may be pending sale, Gaulden said.
Azalea Place Townhomes’ two-bedroom units sell for $115,000 and three-bedroom units cost $125,000, according to the community development department. First time homebuyers who are income-eligible can receive $5,000 in down-payment assistance, the department said in a weekly availability update for March 28.
Gaulden said once all Azalea Street’s original residents are in their new homes, any remaining homes would be placed on the open market.
For more information, contact Gaulden at 876-3564 or email dgaulden@cityofhinesville.org.

 

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