Commissioners receive update on GICH

Published 5:58 pm Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Work is currently underway to find a solution to what many officials, as well as newer residents, have identified as a major problem in Troup County — housing.

Last week, the Troup County Board of Commissioners received an update on the progress that has been made from the Georgia Initiative for Community Housing. The first meeting of the group was Aug. 31, and despite inclement weather planning underway at that time, representatives from all four municipalities were able to attend the first meeting. Some of the biggest concerns for West Point, LaGrange, Hogansville and Troup County were outlined at the meeting for each of the locations.

In LaGrange, senior and low-income housing were identified as top needs in terms of new homes, but the revitalization efforts surrounding neighborhoods were also identified as crucial to the city, with Calumet Village serving as an example of efforts to revitalize a neighborhood.

“When the neighborhood saw this park that was a spark that you can’t believe,” said Dr. Robert Tucker, one of the members of Calumet Village who has played a part in the revitalization. “It really caused the neighborhood to say, ‘OK, well this is where I live, and this is good.’”

In West Point, manufacturing growth and the introduction of Point University has resulted in more job creaton, but now housing becomes the concern. 

“We really have a need across the board,” West Point Mayor Pro Tem Steve Tramell said in the GICH video. “We really need transitional housing and housing from the housing authority, but we also need apartments that people living in this area can transition into. We need student housing. Middle class work force housing is certainly important.”

Hogansville also reported needing additional housing for low-income residents, senior citizens and young professionals.

“I think it is an exciting opportunity for us to work together countywide on housing initiatives because housing is such an important issue for all of us, especially in the cities,” Hogansvillie Mayor Bill Stankiewicz said in the video. “If you are going to have people come to town, and we are going to grow, we’ve got to have a place for them to live. It is that simple.”

The county as a whole reports a need for more homes, but outside the city limits, midrange housing was identified as the area of greatest need.

“I think our biggest gap right now is $160 to $250 thousand, in that range, for a house, but the good thing is that we have a lot of people of coming in making a medium income,” County Manager Tod Tentler said. “We have a lot of great things happening, and we need housing for our people who live here that is affordable and nice, so that is the good part of it. The negative is the infrastructure in the county is not really suited for subdivisions.”

The groups are hopeful that with the help of GICH, the solutions to these housing problems will be found over the course of the three-year initiative, but note that the work is only just beginning.

“I think with us working together with the three cities, we can develop a lot of good housing policies and that will help us with our development,” County Planner Tracie Hadaway said.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Ave.