Booker T. Washington apts. relocation on indefinite hold - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Booker T. Washington apts. relocation on indefinite hold

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The Columbus Housing Authority met with residents of the Booker T. Washington Apartments Friday to deliver what they consider some disappointing news. 

A soon to be initiated plan to relocate the apartments and revitalize the area surrounding the Liberty Theater is at a standstill.

  The Housing Authority announced they cannot move forward with the project, even though the city has already committed $3 million to the cause and purchased a large amount of property for the construction.

 "The board has made the decision not to proceed with the Booker T. Washington redevelopment at this time, so we wanted to tell the residents," said Housing Authority C.E.O. Len Williams. "It was very disappointing to the residents, as expected.  We've been working closely with them for a number of years now and they are very disappointed."

 "I feel kind of sad.  I wish they would have fulfilled it, but that didn't happen.  All we can do is just stay here and pray," said resident, Dorothy Newkirk.

 "Columbus always delays.  That's why we have so many problems, murders, and all this around here, because they delay it.  We need help," said resident Jeffery Lowe.

 Now the plan to tear down the current public housing known as the Booker T. Washington and relocate the residents to a brand new mixed income development near the Liberty Theater is on indefinite hold.  Officials say the trouble began with a disagreement about what should be built and where.

 "There was some opposition that developed late in the planning process about building housing near the Liberty Theater," said Williams.

 Hope for the project is not lost, however. The next move according to the Housing Authority is to draw up a new plan and start all over.  But it may not happen anytime soon.

 "We'll regroup, and hopefully we'll be able to proceed next year with an application," said Williams.

 Until then, residents will have to make due with the conditions of their current living arrangements at Booker T. Washington.

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