Housing Authority holds groundbreaking for new admin building

Published 9:00 am Friday, April 14, 2023

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On Thursday, the LaGrange Housing Authority (LHA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new administration building soon to be located in the Calumet Center.

Spearheading the project is Daniela Bailey, the director of administration. She said the move has been 70 years in the making.

“Our logo is the Phoenix, which we are passionate about rising from the ashes. This is a great opportunity to show our residents that you can come outside of your situation and circumstances,” Bailey said. “This administrative building is at a 70-year milestone. We hope that when our residents see us move, they’ll want to change, and improve their quality of life. I hope as we connect our dots in the city as it grows and expands, we can truly be the phoenixes that we have been designed to be. We are all here to make the city great, and this will be a game changer for us for sure.”

Zsa Zsa Heard, CEO of LHA, said the organization’s vision has always been residents first.

“When we think of new things, our residents are always in mind. This will be a location for an administrative building, but this is also a time to move our residents from where they have been to different places,” Heard said.

Heard said the past administrative building will become an adult resource center.

“We’re going to be able to serve more people in the community and have mental health services, GED classes, resume classes and more services that will help our residents grow,” Heard said. “Yes, it is an administrative building for business, but our business is progressing. That building is 70 years old. It’s time to move on and everybody needs to change. Change is uncomfortable sometimes, but it’s good to make a change because change produces good things; painful, but it’s growing pains. We’re growing, and we’re going to keep moving.”

Heard said it was a blessing to be moving into a bigger space.

“The work that we do in public housing and the persons that we serve may never get to see a moment like this. This is for the people — even though they won’t be housed here, we will be as staff,” Heard said. “This is a moment 70 years in the making, it should have happened a long time ago, and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”

Earnest Pickett, LHA director of construction, said the new building is a start of continued growth.

“The feeling going into this is growth. We did 60 years at the current building, and it’s outdated. It’s time for change and a new direction. We’re looking forward to keeping moving and making our future projects better,” Pickett said.

City Councilman Leon Childs said he was honored to be at the groundbreaking on behalf of the City of LaGrange.

“This is a huge goal and a wonderful thing the LaGrange Housing Authority has done. From education to housing, and being a staunch voice in the community, to lifting people up — that’s the message of the LaGrange Housing Authority, and I was glad to participate in that,” Childs said.

Bailey estimates the new administrative building will be completed in nine months.