Sylvester learns how to build for the future - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sylvester learns how to build for the future

November 11, 2004

Sylvester -- For many South Georgians the dream of home ownership is dashed by the lack of available housing in their community.In many cities there simply aren't enough homes to go around.

Now the University of Georgia is working to help address those problems with a new program that will teach city leaders how to fill their housing gaps.

Sylvester city manager Danny Lucas tours one of his town's biggest problems. Run down neighborhoods, full of dilapidated homes and areas that aren't being redeveloped.

But that may soon change through UGA's new Georgia Institute of Community Housing program, city leaders like Lucas will learn how to drum up new ideas to address Sylvester's housing needs.

"We will be looking for ideas to help us renovate and innovate areas like this and of course if they're avenues for funding we will be all to glad ask about those as well," says Lucas.

During the 3 year program a team of business and city leaders will learn from housing experts and other cities how to focus their housing efforts. Sylvester's Mayor Bill Yearta says the team will then be put to good use addressing the city's growing problem.

"There are degrees that we need housing in our community all the way from rental units for young couples just starting out to affordable housing for people buying their first home," says Yearta.

Yearta says for Sylvester and many other South Georgia towns facing the same problems there's a lot at stake.

"Housing goes along with economic development very strongly and with out proper housing," says Yearta.

And Yearta hopes the solution to Sylvester's housing problem is tied to this new bit of help.

Six cities are participating in the UGA program including two other in South Georgia --Thomasville and Valdosta.

posted at 5:50PM by scott.hunter@walb.com