Rock­mart’s GICH pro­gram ex­pect­ing news t his week.

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - From Staff Re­ports

City of­fi­cials an­tic­i­pate an an­nounce­ment this week whether Rock­mart has been cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in the Georgia Ini­tia­tive for Com­mu­nity Hous­ing (GICH) pro­gram.

“I hope we are se­lected as the next win­ner of this out­stand­ing op­por­tu­nity,” said Steve Miller, mayor, prior to the re­cent site visit that brought pro­gram rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the City.

Karen Tins­ley from the Univer­sity of Georgia, Chris Hig­don from the Georgia Mu­nic­i­pal As­so­ci­a­tion and Beth Spears from the Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment met with the City of Rock­mart Hous­ing Team, which in­cludes com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers.

Sher­man Ross, city coun­cil mem­ber, ad­dressed the group about work that has been com­pleted and the cur­rent hous­ing needs within the com­mu­nity.

One of the hous­ing suc­cess sto­ries men­tioned is Jack­son Square, which was built through a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort of the City of Rock­mart, State Depart­ment of Com­mu­nity Af­fairs, and North­west Georgia Hous­ing Author­ity. The project in­cludes 22 apart­ments - 16 pub­lic hous­ing units 9 DCA units.

Lo­cal of­fi­cials have dis­cussed sev­eral ar­eas that could be­come el­i­gi­ble for tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance pro­vided as part of the GICH pro­gram. Th­ese in­clude Col­lege, Goodyear Vil­lage, Pearl, Beach, Wil­liamson and Church streets, Pied­mont Av­enue, Jones Hill and West­side.

Fol­low­ing the meet­ing, a bus tour was made to see th­ese ar­eas and other points of in­ter­est: Sil­ver Comet Trail, Rock­mart Theatre, Gov­ern­ment Com­plex, Goodyear Vil­lage – lo­ca­tion of Meg­gitt Poly­mers and Com­pos­ites ( once Goodyear Tire and Rub­ber Com­pany lo­ca­tion), Rock­mart Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial, Rock­mart His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum, Se­aborn Jones Park and Church Street Manor.

The Georgia Ini­tia­tive for Com­mu­nity Hous­ing (GICH) of­fers a three­year pro­gram of col­lab­o­ra­tion and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance re­lated to hous­ing and lo­cal de­vel­op­ment.

The ob­jec­tive of the Ini­tia­tive is to help com­mu­ni­ties cre­ate and launch a plan to meet their hous­ing and neigh­bor­hood re­vi­tal­iza­tion needs.

If the re­quest for GICH as­sis­tance is ap­proved, Rock­mart will re­ceive help in cre­at­ing and launch­ing a lo­cally based hous­ing plan to meet hous­ing needs and neigh­bor­hood re­vi­tal­iza­tion. This will in­volve tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, col­lab­o­ra­tion, ex­pert pre­sen­ters, train­ers, fa­cil­i­ta­tion, and con­sen­sus build­ing, net­work­ing and men­tor­ing.

Dur­ing the pro­gram of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and cross-shar­ing the com­mu­nity hous­ing team will: at­tend two retreats a year with other par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties, iden­tify is­sues and needs, avail­able resources and po­ten­tial ob­jec­tives, de­velop new ideas, learn about best prac­tices and avail­able resources and fund­ing for hous­ing and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment, pro­duce a hous­ing plan with ob­jec­tives and goals and be­gin im­ple­men­ta­tion of a pro­gram of ac­tion.

Ross said city of­fi­cials con­tinue to ad­dress lo­cal hous­ing needs for Rock­mart cit­i­zens. He ref­er­enced re­cent ap­proval of or­di­nances to im­prove con­di­tions brought about by va­cant and aban­doned prop­er­ties iden­ti­fied as dan­ger­ous or un­safe.

Jeff El­lis, city man­ager, em­pha­sized that aban­doned or blighted prop­erty can sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact any neigh­bor­hood.

“Rock­mart is not the only com­mu­nity fac­ing th­ese is­sues,” El­lis said. “It can be a win, win sit­u­a­tion when peo­ple take re­spon­si­bil­ity for main­te­nance and upkeep of build­ings they own.”

Sher­man Ross, city coun­cil mem­ber, ad­dresses GICH pro­gram rep­re­sen­ta­tives and oth­ers dur­ing site visit to Rock­mart.

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