DASH breaks ground on Hillside housing development

Published 9:55 am Thursday, June 29, 2023

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On Wednesday morning, city, county and community leaders gathered in Hillside to break ground on DASH’s upcoming housing development.

DASH (Dependable Affordable Sustainable Housing) broke ground on a 17-unit housing development behind its new commercial revitalization project on Lincoln St. in LaGrange, which includes a new ice cream shop Rock Salt Milk Bar and barbeque restaurant The Oink Joint.

Nate Crawford, Executive Director of DASH, said the project uses a new zoning code in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) that allows for a mix of housing including cottages, accessory dwelling units and duplexes.

Crawford said DASH plans to use the development to hopefully become self-sufficient by 2025.

The project will be funded through DASH capital that it has saved up over the years, along with a $2 million grant from the Callaway Foundation and $750,000 contributions in ARPA funds from Troup County and the City of LaGrange.

“We thank you all for investing in us and trusting us with your finances and your dollars to build a great development. We know that it will be a beautiful product in the end,” Crawford said.

Callaway Foundation President Tripp Penn said they are proud to partner with the city, county and DASH for the project.

“It’s a wonderful project for our community. It really just builds upon the great work that DASH has for more than two decades in the Hillside neighborhood,” Penn said. “They have been one of the more consistent examples of the power of partnerships in our community.”

“We always appreciate that close relationship. It’s exciting to see this neighborhood continue to develop and thrive,” Penn said.

County Commission Chair Patrick Crews said he has served on the DASH Board of Directors for more than a decade and was involved in the non-profit’s infancy.

“Back in the early days, we went through the period of time of seeing Ricky Wolf’s vision for this community and what we could do to serve our citizens. We went through a period of time that we had a lot of debt,” Crews said. “We went through a lot of those times, but I always believed in what was being done in this community.”

DASH founder Ricky Wolfe said the project is unique because the Callaway Foundation, LaGrange, Troup and DASH are coming together for such a large project.

“It’s also unique in the fact that some of the housing types that we’re going to build here really aren’t in the community right now, so it’s an experiment in a way to see if this matches with the cultural changes and the need for housing going forward,” Wolfe said.

“When we started DASH [in 2002], I knew nothing about construction, housing, community development, civil engineering, surveying, none of it. I had no interest really, in that part of it. The part that interested me was trying to find a way to better the lives of other people,” Wolfe said.

“There are a lot of people in this world that have not been as fortunate as we have. If there’s a way that we can put a safe roof over their head and a safe environment for them to raise their children with health and self-confidence. I think it is certainly worthwhile work to do,” he said.

Wolfe thanked the Callaway Foundation, along with the city and county, saying the project would not have gotten off the ground if not for their help.

“We have a great working relationship with both the city and the county and the foundation. We’re now partners working on this project together. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of what we can do going forward,” Wolfe said.

Lyle Daniel, Director of Operations for Sheridan Construction, said they are scheduled to start work on the project next week and they anticipate a 10-month timeline to completion.