Neighborhood protests housing development - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Neighborhood protests housing development

December 11, 2007

Albany --  The people in Country Club Estates in South Albany have enlisted the help of the city in their fight against a senior citizen housing development in their area.  

The group of nearly 300 believes their property values will be diminished by the 49-unit development, and they don't believe it fits into the scheme of the neighborhood.

Now, the city is sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development asking them to take a closer look at the project, but it may be too little, too late.  

It took years, and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for Hampton Smith to make his dream of home ownership in a quality neighborhood a reality.  "This is a real tough situation here. I didn't invest in my life down there for somebody to come in and destroy the neighborhood."

But now the landscape of Country Club Estates is changing. A 49 unit apartment complex for senior citizens is being constructed; a project Smith says will ruin his piece of American pie. "We are trying to save our neighborhood and they're trying to bring it down."

Dalewood Estates is being built by Trinity Community Development Corporation, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Smith and other homeowners want construction to stop, because Trinity was decertified as a community housing development organization in Albany earlier this year, because they didn't fulfill their promise to build 25 houses.

But there's not much, if anything, the city can do. "The funds for the 25 single family units were channeled through the city. The 202 project is coming straight from HUD," said City Commissioner Bo Dorough.

That means the city can't stop it. But commissioners are sending a letter to HUD warning about its problems with Trinity. "The letter is drafted to basically express concerns that Dalewood might not have the wherewithal to complete the project," said Dorough.

"When you pass 70 and retired, and worked all these years, you ought to be able to sit and enjoy yourself. But the way things are going now, it seems they are forcing some things on it," Smith says.

But he doesn't want it forced on him.

Homeowners of Country Club Estates previously filed suit to stop construction of the development, but a judge denied that request in February of last year.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=SeniorHousingCC-estates-Karen

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