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Davis bring early Christmas to Greensboro

GREENSBORO – It’s a $4.5 million dollar project, but a generous donation is allowing Greensboro’s Caldwell Creek architects and constructors to soon begin phase one of the project.

Thursday afternoon employees from the HERO Housing Resource Center, representatives from FHLBank Atlanta and excited citizens gathered in Magnolia Restaurant to thank Congressman Artur Davis for his role in getting $334,806 to build 32 single-family rental homes.

“On behalf of the city of Greensboro, the city council and all the elected officials, I want to thank Mr. Davis and his staff for their help in bridging the gap in housing problems in Greensboro,” Greensboro mayor J.B. Washington said. “A lot of people have been asking me when the groundbreaking will be and I didn’t know then. Now I tell them I’m sure it’ll be soon because the money is here.”

“I’ve been telling folks for four years that the Black Belt matters and if you want to invest in something, this is where you should put your money. This is a chance that something good will happen. It’s not a guarantee. It’s not an inevitability, but it’s a chance,” Davis, D-District 7, told the crowd. “If this happens the way I see it happening, in the next few years you will see people living together who are not living together today.”

Caldwell Creek will be the city’s first mixed-income housing community consisting of 32 single-family rental homes and 68 single-family homes for ownership.

“This is not housing for low-income families but for those with mixed income, so they can advise and help each other with the problems we all face in life,” district judge William Sonny Ryan said. “In 1994 HERO recognized the lack of adequate affordable housing in Hale County and I regret that it’s taken this long to get to the point.”

“This is what we’ve been talking about for the past two years and the pieces are beginning to come together to build a really strong project,” HERO director Pam Dorr said. “It feels like we are off to a great start and I am real excited for the community. The people have high expectations and I think we are definitely going to meet them.”

With permanent funding from the Fannie Mae “My Community Mortgage” through New South Federal Bank in conjunction with AHFA First Step with a below market interest rate of 5.83 percent and 6 percent down payment assistance, Caldwell Creek will provide residents with opportunities for home ownership as well as renting.

“Home ownership is a big part of the American dream and to be able to assist in that is great,” State Representative Ralph Howard said. “Having mixed-income families in a neighborhood is a good thing. We had a divide and now we are trying to close the gap.”

“I feel good about it. We need a mixture of families in a neighborhood. Doctors can stay there. Schoolteachers can stay there. The man that works in the service station can probably afford to stay there too,” Greensboro city council member Valada Paige-Banks said.

“It’s real good to see a diversified project come to Greensboro,” councilwoman Janice Jemison added. “There are no income barriers, no gender lines and no race divisions.”

The groundbreaking ceremony is set for November 1 although the specific time has not been set.

Actual building for phase one is planned to begin in October and the 32 homes will be completed in September 2007.

Dorr said combination grants and private loans will be used to fund phases 2 and 3 which will be constructed in October 2006 and October 2007, respectively.

“This will be a great thing to add more homes to the city,” councilman Johnnie Davis said. “We are elated that the congressman, the senator, and the representatives are working together with the local officials to do better things in the city of Greensboro,” Paige-Banks added.

“This is an opportunity to get people out of substandard housing, get them into something better and get ride of substandard housing in Greensboro for good,” Howard said. “It will also make the community more attractive and I hope we can start moving on from there.”

With the coming of the Caldwell Creek project, Davis said residents will not only understand the strengths and weaknesses we all have, but they will also fully understand the good of us living together.

“Most importantly, you will understand that there is no way Greensboro and Hale County can make it if all of Greensboro and Hale County doesn’t make it,” Davis said. “I see more housing for residents, I see more job opportunities, I see better healthcare in the areas and I see better roads in the Black Belt. I am just excited about the future of Greensboro, this project and what it represents.”