Cities, county taking part in housing initiative

Published 8:26 pm Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the next three years, Troup County, LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville will all be taking a closer look at the housing needs of the community with the help of an initiative through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the University of Georgia.

This week, the recipients of the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing were announced and the joint application from Troup County, LaGrange, West Point and Hogansville was accepted into the initiative. Of the five locations selected this year, Troup County and its three cities will be the largest area considered in terms of both land area and population with approximately 70,000 citizens. It has been previously discussed during county meetings that the initiative’s founders see the growing county as an interesting challenge to consider.

“The collaboration among the county, Hogansville, West Point, and LaGrange is very unique in our state,” said Kathy Tilley with the Troup County Center for Strategic Planning in a press release. “The county and city planners realize that working together for the good of the entire community is best for all of us.”

Planners from West Point, Hogansville, LaGrange and Troup County all expressed excitement at being able to be a part of the GICH initiative.

“We are proud of our collaborative efforts to be selected for this high honor,” said Troup County Planner Tracie Hadaway in a press release. “This will allow us to get the technical assistance to help us increase better housing choices in all of our communities to meet future needs.”

According to a press release from the City of LaGrange, Troup County is expected to expand to include 8,000 new jobs in the next five years. Those new jobs will likely mean more people moving to the area, and the cities and county need information like what they will receive in the program. Current residents are expected to benefit from the program too though.

“For the average person, even if they are in a good house, and they are happy where they live this can mean a better quality of life all around because when some people are suffering from bad housing, it affects the whole community,” Hogansville City Planner Lynne Miller said. “It affects our image for new business.”

The program will focus on identifying problems and solutions in each of the cities and the county.

“Our citizens bring an individual perspective from each of our participating communities that help identify area housing challenges and opportunities,” said City of LaGrange Senior Planner Leigh Threadgill in a press release.

The other recipients of the initiative are Byron, Cochran, McRae-Helena and Norcross. The group will be required to attend two retreats a year for the next three years to identify issues, develop new ideas, learn best practices, produce a community housing plan and begin implementation of that plan.