AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Leaders at the Augusta Housing Authority are filing an application to have the Dogwood Terrace neighborhood demolished. The idea has been in the works for years, but the ball is now rolling and most people living there say they’re ready to see it go.
“I’ve been for it,” said Christina Frazier, a resident of Dogwood Terrace.
“I’m super ecstatic, I can’t even lie. God answered all my cries,” said Sylvia, another resident of Dogwood Terrace.
Dogwood Terrace is slated to be torn down, but it’s still not set in stone.
“We are at the very beginning process of applying to HUD to do this demolition process,” said Douglas Freeman.
Douglas Freeman is the Deputy Executive Director at Augusta Housing Authority. He says while demolition is not guaranteed at this point, housing authority officials would’ve never submitted the application if they weren’t sure of approval. Freeman says they’re not expecting to get that approval until the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
Dogwood Terrace has been a hot spot for crime, but Freeman says the demolition has nothing to do with that.
“The reality is, it’s just time for Dogwood Terrace. It’s going to cost more to renovate. We have apartments that are just too small for the families living there now and now is the time to just do redevelopment,” he said.
But crime is one of the many reasons why most people living there are ready to see it go.
“Since that incident with my baby Arbrie Anthony happened, it’s a mess. No child should be killed like that,” said Frazier.
“We love Arbrie. I hope she comes back soon,” said Frazier’s six-year-old daughter.
“It need to be done. It’s to the point where I don’t even let my kids come outside because I feel like they may get hurt. I got a bunk bed in my kids room and I don’t even let them sleep in the top bunk. It’s awful,” said Sylvia.
Freeman says current residents will have the option to relocate but there is a catch.
“Any residents that are living in Dogwood at the time of the approval will be eligible for relocation assistance.”
So residents that move out before the approval won’t be eligible. Freeman says relocation assistance will come in two forms, either the housing authority will transfer you to another public housing neighborhood or through tenant protection vouchers, and residents will be able to choose between those two options. The district’s commissioner says now is not the best time for demolition.
“Because there is a low rate of low income housing in the apartments do need to be brought up to date.”
But the district’s commissioner doesn’t think now is the best time to tear the neighborhood down.
“Because we have a low rate of low-income housing in the area,” said District Commissioner Dennis Williams.
Augusta Housing Authority leaders are inviting residents and district leaders to a meeting on Thursday, May 12th to discuss the demolition process and answer any questions. It’ll be at the Dogwood Terrace Community Center at 2101 15th Avenue.