The Covington News - - Front page -

Jim Markel, an At­lanta AEP rep­re­sen­ta­tive, said his com­pany would own the homes for at least 15 years and ei­ther rent them or do ex­tended lease-pur­chases. He said the com­pany would also main­tain all the greenspace dur­ing that time. The homes would be around 1,500 sq. ft., and Markel said they would cost ap­prox­i­mately $85 to $90 per square foot to build and would be of a higher qual­ity than the ex­ist­ing homes.

He said the cot­tage-style homes will be de­signed to fit in with the over­all Tra­di­tional Neigh­bor­hood Devel­op­ment style. The State of Mas­sachusetts’ web­site had one of the more suc­cinct def­i­ni­tions: A TND con­tains a cen­ter that in­cludes a pub­lic space and com­mer­cial en­ter­prise; an iden­ti­fi­able edge, ide­ally a five minute walk from the cen­ter; a mix of ac­tiv­i­ties and va­ri­ety of hous­ing types; an in­ter­con­nected net­work of streets usu­ally in a grid pat­tern, high pri­or­ity of pub­lic space, with promi­nently lo­cated civic build­ings and open space that in­cludes parks, plazas, squares.

The CRA’s plans in the neigh­bor­hood call for open pub­lic space and com­mer­cial prop­er­ties at the en­trance of the neigh­bor­hood. To date, the CRA has pur­chased around 45 lots in Walker’s Bend; most of them were bankowned prop­er­ties that had been fore­closed on.

In March, Vin­son said the city was fo­cus­ing on Walker’s Bend be­cause most of the sub­di­vi­sion was in fore­clo­sure, both houses and va­cant prop­er­ties. The city and CRA saw the neigh­bor­hood as be­ing on the verge of be­com­ing a slum and hoped to turn it around through con­cen­trated in­vest­ment, he said pre­vi­ously. Homes orig­i­nally sold in that neigh­bor­hood for more than $100,000, but are now rou­tinely sell­ing for $50,000 or less,

Mayor Kim Carter and Coun­cil­woman Hawnethia Wil­liams have re­peat­edly stated the city needs more af­ford­able hous­ing. AEP is the same com­pany that is build­ing the se­nior 6070 unit se­nior af­ford­able hous­ing com­plex at the in­ter­sec­tion of Lee and Reynolds streets.

• In re­lated news, the city is ap­ply­ing for a state grant that would al­low it to of­fer $300,000 in down pay­ment as­sis­tance to low-in­come in­di­vid­u­als who wanted to pur­chase other homes in Walker’s Bend.

The city’s grant writer Randy Con­ner said other home­builders will be given the op­por­tu­nity to build af­ford­able homes in Walker’s Bend other than AEP. These homes will ac­tu­ally be sold as op­posed to be­ing rented.

The Com­mu­nity Home In­vest­ment Pro­gram is de­signed to al­low com­mu­ni­ties to of­fer af­ford­able hous­ing to their cit­i­zens and is ad­min­is­tered by DCA. Con­ner es­ti­mated that be­tween 15 and 20 home­own­ers could be helped with the $300,000. The max­i­mum sales price en­abled un­der the grant’s terms is $150,000 and the max­i­mum as­sis­tance avail­able is $14,999.

A fam­ily must not make more than 80 per­cent of the Area Me­dian In­come, which for a fam­ily of four in Cov­ing­ton is $57,350.

The coun­cil asked why other ar­eas weren’t con­sid­ered, but Con­ner said many other ar­eas in need have hous­ing that is too old; the CHIP grant re­quires houses to be built af­ter 1978.

The coun­cil unan­i­mously ap­proved a mo­tion al­low­ing the city to ap­ply for the CHIP grant.

• In other city news, the coun­cil ap­proved an al­co­hol li­cense for Low Coun­try Fish Camp, a fish res­tau­rant which will be opened at 2123 Usher St. NW, in the Sun­belco prop­erty at the corner of Usher Street NW and Emory Street, which has been va­cant for years.

• Fi­nally, due to the re­cent fail­ure of two elec­tric trans­form­ers, the city had to pur­chase a re­place­ment trans­former for $38,700. Cov­ing­ton had one trans­former in stock and bor­rowed an­other one from the City of Mon­roe.

• Work at the air­port con­tin­ues to be de­layed by en­gi­neer­ing con­cerns and, al­though the fuel farm tank has been up and run­ning for a while, the Av­gas pump re­mains down, be­cause the in­side of the tank be­came too cor­roded while it sat va­cant for sev­eral months. City Man­ager Steve Hor­ton said Mon­day the city is wait­ing for a price es­ti­mate be­fore it can or­der the tank cleaned. The Jet A fuel pump is run­ning.

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