City won't back Cutliff Grove project - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City won't back Cutliff Grove project

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Albany City Commission essentially ended a project an Albany church has been working to develop for five years.

Cutliff Grove Church tried to get federal financing to build affordable housing units near their church on Broad Avenue.

They need the city to take on some of the financial risk to secure a loan for the rest of the project.

The Department of Community and Economic Development wanted to know by five o'clock Friday if the city was willing to take a second place lien on a property as collateral for another loan.

The city commission instead decided to take no action, which essentially stopped the development from happening. At least for now.

In a special called meeting, Rev. McKinley Drake came to the city asking for more time and for financial backing.

But the commissioners just couldn't be convinced to back a project for 24 affordable housing units with taxpayer money.

"I understand that our commissioners are here to be concerned abut the city of Albany," said Cutliff Grove Baptist Church Rev. McKinley Drake.

The city and its money.  "the question here today was whether we would take 2nd place on a lien with the bank,"  said Mayor Pro Tem Dorothy Hubbard.

A question the city had an easy answer to: 'No.'

"I do not think we can continue to allow the city to be completely out of the loop in terms of representing funds that the citizens will have to pay back," said Hubbard.

Rev. Drake says he still has a vision that the area near his church can go from a haven for drunks, drug addicts and prostitutes, to a home base for those who need affordable housing.

"I got much confidence that with just a little more time that you will see a grave improvement in our community which will be beneficial to our worship center, everyone that's surrounding it and for the city of Albany." 

Friday, church leaders planned to meet with another local bank to see if that would agree to provide a loan on different terms.

Right now, Cutliff Grove is not eligible for this project with Housing and Urban Development. If they can find financing from another source, they may try again.

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