Housing Authority celebrates ribbon cutting of bus shelters

Matthew Strother

June 17, 2014

Officials on Monday celebrated the opening of bus shelters at LaGrange Housing Authority sites, an effort they said was a cooperation among private and public entities.

“We are delighted that these shelters are located throughout the property of the housing authority,” said LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton at Monday morning’s event.

Thornton said the shelters will protect children waiting for the bus from the elements, and they are a symbol of the partnership in the community among the housing authority, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia – which donated money for the project, Home Depot – which donated supplies and labor – and the city, which donated in-kind work.

“This is a great example of how we can accomplish things for our children when we’re all working together,” he said.

Housing Authority Director Zsa Zsa Heard thanked the entities that contributed, as well as the Housing Authority Board of Directors, including chairman Michael Jackson, who was interim director when the project was conceptualized. She said the shelters are significant for children of the housing authority, because unlike children in many other areas that can walk to the bus from their front door, the housing authority children have one spot to load and unload.

“It will provide for them somewhere when it’s cold or hot … an area that is safe when they’re standing, all in one location,” Heard said.

Jackson said the idea was proposed by the board in early September, and the winter weather conditions delayed plans, but ultimately the money and supplies, donated by Kia and Home Depot respectively, then labor all came together.

“Now when our kids start school back in August, they can come and won’t have to stand outside when the weather’s bad, or when it’s cold,” he said. “It is a great opportunity for LaGrange Housing Authority to provide services to our residents.”

Randy Jackson, vice president of human resources for KMMG, said that Kia has tried to make an assessment of the community’s needs since it came to Troup County and do what it can to help. KMMG has already helped establish other bus stops in West Point, and these are the first in LaGrange, and he hopes they will help local children go to school, learn and graduate.

Michael Wade, pro department supervisor for Home Depot, was on hand for the ribbon cutting and said he was glad the company supported local projects.

“It’s good to work with a company like Home Depot that lets us get out in the community and do things like build these bus shelters … to help keep these kids out of the weather,” he said.

Michael Jackson thanked all the LaGrange Housing Authority board members involved in the project – Debbie Burdette, Ricky Wolfe, Carolyn Burke, Yvonne Hatton and Will Jones – and LHA project coordinator Karen Nelson, who he said spearheaded the project.

Sheila Rowe with the Chamber of Commerce said before the ribbon cutting for the shelter at Benjamin Harvey Hill Homes that the ribbon cutting was symbolic of the cooperation and friendship of the entities involved. The group was joined by children from the Boys and Girls Club who reside at Housing Authority properties for the ceremony.