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Northwest Decatur getting new homes
First house where public housing project once stood to be ready to sell in 90 days

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

Within two months after a man moved next to a city housing project, a burglar struck his home in Northwest Decatur.

Michael Nichols said the incident occurred four years ago, but his community is a much quieter, more tranquil place after federal and local funds were used to demolish the Cashin Homes projects in 2005.

Rising from the green fields at Cherry and Cain streets — where dilapidated government duplexes once stood — is a 90 percent complete, three-bedroom, single-family, brick home with rear lot parking and a two-car garage.

The development of owner-occupied homes is called King’s Estate Addition.

Jeff Snead, director of housing for Decatur Housing Authority, said the organization just received the federal government’s verbal permission to sell the home, which Kenny Etheridge, the authority’s contractor, said appraised for $82,000.

The maximum asking price sought, Snead said, is between $75,000 to $80,000.

It will likely be sold in the next 90 days to one of the 190 people who submitted applications, Snead said. He continues to receive applications daily.

“There will be five floor plans homeowners will have to choose from,” Snead said.

Those who applied will also have a shot at buying 38 more homes that the housing authority plans to build, which Nichols said would revitalize his community and increase property values.

Background checks

“We’re screening people on the application list through police background checks, credit checks, references, the whole nine yards,” Snead said. “And one lucky person will have a chance to buy it through a traditional bank loan. We’ll take the proceeds from that house and put it back into another house. We’ll only build on request. We don’t want them sitting empty.”

Some homeowners would like to see another housing project at East Acres meet the same fate, but there are no plans to demolish the government housing in Southeast Decatur to replace it with single-family dwellings, Snead said.

“We haven’t thought about East Acres,” Snead said. “We haven’t talked about demolishing it or anything. We sought to tear down Cashin Homes because it was costing us a lot of money to keep it running.”

Snead said Cashin Homes and East Acres were both built in 1952, but East Acres isn’t a money pit.

Snead said it was renovated 12 years ago and is holding up well.

Councilman David Bolding, who represents District 2, including East Acres, said he doesn’t know much about the Housing Authority’s plans for his district.

“The Housing Authority makes those decisions,” Bolding said. “I think it’s (King’s Estate) a great idea that will probably work well, but I don’t know anything about the procedures or cost.”

City Council President Billy Jackson, however, has been heavily involved with revitalizing his District 1 neighborhoods, including the Cashin Homes demolition started by the Housing Authority’s former director, Bob Neill.

“Mr. Neill and Mr. Snead were kind enough to have my input on that,” Jackson said. “There’s a sitting park going in across from there in conjunction with that. The project is exactly the same model we want to do over at Stonegate.”

Stonegate, a former apartment complex off Old Moulton Road, is now a green field owned by the city. It was demolished in 2003. Jackson said no time frame exists for revitalizing the once crime-ridden development.

“Our intention was to let it sit for three to four years,” Jackson said. “Let it move away from the stigma associated with it.”

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