The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority won a competitive $1.7 million grant for the environmentally friendly public housing
complex. The grant was funded through the federal stimulus program. NWGHA provided $350,000 to match the grant.
“It’s a wonderful day,” Jennings said. “The idea that ten new families will have an opportunity to live in an extraordinarily well-designed, well-constructed facility.”
Jennings said that when people ask what the stimulus act stimulated, Rome can point to the Village Green project, where 41 people participated in the construction and spent money in local restaurants for several months.
The sustainable housing development is part of what Jennings called the wave of the future. He told a large crowd that public housing leaders across his eight state Southeast region don’t all share the same type of vision that leaders of the Northwest Georgia Housing Authority have expressed in their effort to reshape the face of public housing.
“This is the new standard,” Jennings said. “Every time we rehab a unit, we build a unit, we want it built to the highest standards.”
Architects for the project hope to receive Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for the development, which would make the Housing Authority of Northwest Georgia the first in the state to receive such certification for public housing.
Steve Chumley, technical services director for the NWGHA, said the new units include solar water heaters and other nuances designed to save electricity.
Clay tiles from the roof of units at the old Charles Hight Homes complex at Turner McCall and North Fifth Avenue were also salvaged and re-used atop the new apartments.
Housing Authority Executive Director Sandra Hudson welcomed back the former director of the NWGHA, Steve Bennett, and recalled something he told her many years ago.
“If I don’t want to live in that unit, why would I want to rent it to anyone else?” Hudson said Bennett told her.
She said that simple statement has been the basis for her efforts toward reshaping public housing in Rome and Rockmart.
“You are a true inspiration to this city,” Mayor Evie McNiece told members of the housing authority and staff. “What you have done in this city is amazing.”
Chumley said that after a few minor punch list items are signed off on, residents should start moving into the units within 10-14 days. Chumley said the NWGHA has a long list of applicants for the apartments.