Public Housing leaders hold ribbon cutting at new housing properties in Historic Laney Walker District

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Augusta, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a big step in progress for the Laney Walker and Bethlehem neighborhoods Thursday, and a commemoration to a pillar in the community.

Augusta Public Housing leaders held a ribbon cutting at a new housing development in honor of Miller Ashley.

“That corner was his pride and joy,” says Tony Ashley, Miller Ashley’s son.

Augusta public housing leaders are paying homage to a man with a great impact in the community.

Miller says he’s “just glad that the neighborhood development decided to do this and that way they could keep that corner alive and keep his name on it.”

That corner belonged to Miller Ashley- widely known as Deacon Ashley. He owned and operated Ashley Bookstore on these very grounds for more than 30 years. His store became a pillar in the community, supporting churches across the C.S.R.A

“When I first found out they took the building down, they tore it down, you know it was kind of hard because I knew he put so much into it,” says Ashley.

Now public housing leaders are continuing his legacy, by building these affordable townhomes and naming them Ashley’s Landing. Former Augusta City Councilwoman Margaret Armstrong watched the transformation up close, from her home.

“I lived to see the work towards the re-development in this community and it meant a lot to me and others that it was named in honor of, we call him deacon Ashley, he was like the cornerstone because it was more than just a store,” says Armstrong.

These homes are a part of the Laney-Walker Bethlehem Revitalization Project. It’s an effort to bring more affordable and quality homes to the area.

“Back in 2008 the commission committed 37 and a half million dollars,” says Hawthorne Welcher. He’s the director of Housing and Development in Augusta.

“But they wanted that to leverage and yield 4 times the amount they wanted us to be able to not only transform the neighborhood but come back and transform the neighborhood into a thriving community,” Welcher added.

Ashley’s Landing features these four single-family town homes.

Welcher says, “The price point of these homes is 150, so it’s 150, but at the same time we’re able to provide subsidy up to 125 thousand dollars so, in essence, you may have a home that’s selling for 150 thousand dollars, but a person’s mortgage is based on 125. That’s affordable housing.

These properties are complete and ready for sale, but there are some requirements you have to meet in order to purchase one.

All townhomes are handicap accessible and come with a built in alarm system. They are two bedroom and two full bathroom homes.

Below is a quick walk-through tour of one of the townhomes at Ashley’s landing.

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