Special Thanks to the MDJ for this great story…
MARIETTA – One of the city’s remaining public housing projects is almost empty and housing authority officials said demolition could begin soon.
Marietta Housing Authority Executive Director Ray Buday said only one or two residents are left in the 8-acre, 125-unit public housing project located near Cherokee and Montgomery streets.
“We’ve given extraordinary attention to helping the folks move,” he said.
Buday said Section 8 vouchers had been issued to residents of the project and the majority of former residents have used them.
MHA Director Pete Waldrep said demolition and development of the site would begin in late March, with the MHA grading and completing infrastructure improvements.
“We’re going to develop the piece of property ourselves,” he said.
Waldrep added the land would go out for bid in late May or early June.
“Our goal is to sell all the lots to one builder,” he said.
The site’s density will drop from 125 units to 45 single-family detached homes, with 30 percent, or 15 units, planned as affordable housing priced below $300,000.
Waldrep said the plan is to issue the builder a rebate on each affordable house equal to the price of the lot.
The affordable homes would look similar on the outside, with interior changes to bring prices down.
Ward 5 City Councilman Anthony Coleman, an outspoken advocate for more affordable housing in the city, said a few months ago he is dissatisfied with only 30 percent of Lyman being affordable housing.
He said he still would prefer more affordable housing units.
“I’ll live with the 15, but I’d prefer 20,” he said.
Buday said the MHA wants to “move fast” on getting started.
He said the housing authority would seek site plan approval from the City Council in April.
Waldrep estimates building would begin early in September with the first residents moving in by the end of the year.
Lyman Homes was built in 1949 as segregated housing to replace the dilapidated Baptist Town that was home to many of the city’s poor black residents.
Demolition of the 57-year-old housing project is the latest in a trilogy of redevelopment efforts aimed at run-down developments. The housing authority previously sold off its former Johnny Walker and Clay Homes sites.
Buday said the site would be fenced off for the demolition.
In 2002, Lyman residents protested re-installation of barriers and fencing around the neighborhood designed to curb drug-related crime and speeding through the neighborhoods.