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HUD boss bestows $450K planning grant for Westside Atlanta redevelopment

HUD Secretary Ben Carson visits with Atlanta Housing to announce the $450,000 FY 2020 Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant award for Bowen Homes. (Credit: Atlanta Housing)

By Sean Keenan

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson stopped by Atlanta on Tuesday to announce Atlanta Housing (AH) would receive $450,000 in federal funding to help develop a roadmap for the revitalization of parts of the city’s Westside.

HUD awarded the two-year Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant to 11 cities, including Pittsburgh, Houston and Cincinnati, totaling $5 million for community initiatives across the country.

“Today’s grants will help to jump start the plans for immense positive change in eleven of our Nation’s often-neglected neighborhoods,” Carson said, per a HUD press release. “I look forward to seeing their plans come to fruition as we help to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and set our neighbors back onto a path of self-sufficiency.”

In Atlanta, the money, which AH applied for in September, will in part help devise a redevelopment plan for the vacant site of the former Bowen Homes, a public housing complex built in the 1960s and razed in the late 2000s. 

The 77-acre property is “critical to the revitalization of the far northwest side of the city,” AH officials said in a press release.

The AH-led planning process is slated to kick off in January and will be conducted in tandem with the city’s planning department.

The grant is projected to support economic reinvestment by supporting small businesses and spurring investment in local retail and other services along the Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway corridor. It’s also expected to emphasize environmental sustainability, as well as education parity via a “21st Century cradle-to-career and college pipeline — workforce development, essentially. 

Trish O’Connell, AH’s vice president of real estate development, told SaportaReport that the grant also dedicates $100,000 in funding to what officials call “Doing While Planning,” meaning it will fund a to-be-determined project that would be carried out as the planning process moves along.

That project, she said, would be something “designed to foster community engagement, respond to community needs and enhance the neighborhood.”

AH CEO Eugene Jones added: “These federal funds, and the critically important investments from AH, the City of Atlanta, Atlanta Public Schools, Invest Atlanta, Morehouse School of Medicine and others, will provide a roadmap to the sustainable redevelopment of the Bowen site and will lay the groundwork for future investments in area housing, open space, neighborhood retail, and other elements for the benefit of former, current and future residents.”

It’s unclear when exactly construction could begin at the old Bowen Homes site, although Atlanta City Councilman Dustin Hillis, who represents the district where it’s located, told SaportaReport the city “will have to apply for an implementation grant in a year or so.”

This story was updated on December 16, 2020 at 3:15 p.m.


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  1. Greg Allen Hodges December 18, 2020 9:43 am

    Curious as to just what is planned to be constructed on this 77 acre site…… the story does not give any details or specifics.Report

  2. Atlanta Resident December 18, 2020 5:01 pm

    The photo of the old city hall gives the appearance the building is leaning left.
    “Permanent supportive housing” sounds like the “projects” are about to be brought
    back to life.Report

    1. Greg Allen Hodges December 23, 2020 7:02 pm

      Perry Homes II ?Report


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