City revitalizes neighborhood - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City revitalizes neighborhood

August 22, 2003

Fitzgerald- Dozens of the houses on East Oconee are run down and have been vacant for at least four years.

"There's always a homeless issue when you have property like this. There are people that camp out in them and they tend to burn down two or three a year, and sometimes they take the neighbors property with them," says Community Development Director, Cam Jordan.

By next year these eyesores will be a thing of the past. Soon the city will tear the old, dilapidated houses in the area down . The city of Fitzgerald has been awarded $800,000.00 in grants to help fund the cost of building 15 new homes for low to moderate income families on the lots. The families will also be able to apply for down-payment assistance.

"Number one we get rid of old, and dilapidated housing. Number two we help people who have a job and can afford payments on a house and get them into a house without a big down payment," explains Mayor Gerald Thompson.

"By being able to come in and do in-field housing we can bring back a whole five block neighborhood and reverse the downward trends in property values," adds Jordan.

With help from local banks,developers, and Department of Community Affairs grant money, the city will turn these old rundown houses into new safe homes.

The city plans to begin clearing all 23 lots by early October. The new homes should be complete by next Spring.

Fitzgerald is also turning what used to be one of the last rooftop gardens in the state into a conference center. The $600,000.00 facility is located on the top floor of the Grand Street Theatre and will accommodate up to 250 people.

In about three weeks the Fitzgerald fire department will move into it's new $600,000.00 home. The new station will have drive thru access, storage room for equipment, and even a fire engine history museum.

Posted at 5:15 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com

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