Starkville Daily News - - AROUND TOWN -

across from Longs Lake by Tal­ley Ho Road.

Tenant Mar­garet Gandy said she has lived in Pe­can Acres for 21 years and is look­ing for­ward to the po­ten­tial new house she could be mov­ing into.

"I felt pretty good about it," Gandy said. "I'm ok with it."

Out of the about 40 who at­tended, the room was at­ten­tive, asked ques­tions and voiced both con­cerns and ap­proval.

One con­cern came from Har­vey Rogers, where the pro­posed lo­ca­tion was not in close prox­im­ity to any gro­cery stores or phar­ma­cies. Rogers said he felt the lo­ca­tion on High­way 182 doesn't have enough busi­nesses close by and is not in a cen­tral­ized lo­ca­tion like the cur­rent de­vel­op­ment.

An­other con­cern about the lo­ca­tion came from res­i­dent Brenda Gard­ner, who re­lies on walk­ing to her des­ti­na­tions be­cause she does not own a ve­hi­cle. She said with Pe­can Acres' cur­rent lo­ca­tion, she can walk to City Hall, the li­brary, phar­ma­cies and other busi­nesses.

"So this is a go, whether we want to go or not?" Garner asked.

Tay­lor said the De­part­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment is in fa­vor of the land swap, but they will take con­cerns of tenants into con­sid­er­a­tion.

Tay­lor said with the swap, the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity will be able to re­place the old hous­ing with newer ma­te­ri­als.

"New isn't nec­es­sar­ily what it's cracked up to be," Garner said. "Me per­son­ally, I don't want new, be­cause new does not give me qual­ity."

Garner said find­ing out about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment through the me­dia and not through the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity was a kick to the stom­ach and was "in­hu­mane" and "cruel.”

She said if the pre­sen­ta­tion was be­ing made, mem­bers of the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity should have no­ti­fied the tenants prior.

"There was no trans­parency there," Garner said. "We were not given the in­for­ma­tion we should have been given."

Tay­lor said the rea­son they did not present the pro­posed idea to tenants was be­cause they didn't have enough in­for­ma­tion for a pre­sen­ta­tion.

Garner told the Starkville Daily News these tenant meet­ings were just a fa­cade to show the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity spoke with the tenants to get their feed­back for con­sid­er­a­tion.

"I think it's a done deal," Garner said. "We're ask­ing for in­put, but we're go­ing to do this deal and we're go­ing to build this new project on (High­way) 182"

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Tay­lor said there would be con­tracted and in­sured movers, and rent for the tenants will not in­crease even though it is a new de­vel­op­ment.

As for trans­porta­tion, Bishop said the Hous­ing Au­thor­ity trans­porta­tion vans will be re­struc­tured for all tenants to uti­lize it and there will be a SMART bus stop at the new de­vel­op­ment. Bishop said if there is a need, they can use sav­ings from main­te­nance to pur­chase an ad­di­tional van.

Tay­lor said he un­der­stands this will be an in­con­ve­nience, but it is ex­tremely un­com­mon for res­i­dents who live in pub­lic hous­ing to move into a brand new build­ing.

"This is an op­por­tu­nity for that to hap­pen," Tay­lor said. "We have your best in­ter­est at heart."

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