This is a historically African-American neighborhood that has recently seen a lot real-estate pressure from investors and students desiring housing near the University of Georgia and downtown Athens. Many families who have lived in this neighborhood for generations are low to moderate income and cannot financially compete with investors and students. The property taxes in this neighborhood have increased tremendously and forced families to move elsewhere.
There are residents within the Hancock area working to preserve affordable housing and the integrity of this community. The Reese-Pope neighborhood has recently been designated as a historic district. The Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation presented ALT the 2008 Preservation Award for Outstanding Achievement “for positive impacts to the Historic Hancock Corridor.” ALT has rehabilitated 235 and 245 N. Rocksprings, 215 Colima, 861 and 865 Waddell and built a historically sensitive-infill house at 640 W. Hancock. ALT has submitted an application for the historic tax freeze for the future homeowners of 861 and 865 Waddell Street.
ALT is also involved in the revitalization efforts of the East Athens neighborhood. Like the Hancock Corridor, East Athens has a rich cultural history that is being threatened by the influx of student rental housing. Two affordable housing communities (the Garden Springs Mobile Home Park and Athens Arms Apartments) were lost to high-end rental housing several years ago. ALT received tax credits from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to build Fourth Street Village, a 120-unit development that will provide additional affordable units for low-income residents. Construction on this project is complete and residents are moving in.
ALT has rehabilitated several affordable single-family homes in East Athens, including 51 Dublin, 125 Stanelle, 130 Andrea, and 470 Nellie B. With increased development, both single family and multi-family, the average house and land prices in East Athens are rising rapidly. Because of ALT’s ground lease, our homes will always be permanently affordable and owner-occupied. The limited equity formula in the ground lease ensures that when homeowners wish to sell, they will receive a fair return on their investment while keeping the price affordable for other low-to-moderate income people. In this way, ALT’s program slows down the gentrification that often occurs when a neighborhood is revitalized. Homes on land owned by ALT will provide some housing that is affordable to the original, long-term residents, in essence, keeping a mixed-income community.
Recently, ALT received a grant of $1,000 from Ben and Jerry’s Foundation to empower and engage residents surrounding Five Acre Woods in East Athens, where ALT holds a conservation easement on a natural county park. Several years ago, ALT received a grant of $4,700 from the Fund for Southern Communities to increase the amount of open space, neighborhood parks, and community gardens in East Athens and the Hancock Corridor. ALT’s involvement with the Five-Acre Wood in East Athens and the Brooklyn Community Garden in the Hancock Corridor has demonstrated the value of these two projects to the residents of these neighborhoods and has inspired ALT to promote additional open spaces in these neighborhoods. ALT is working with A-CC Leisure Services, and we have been involved in the community meetings about the Rocksprings park, the Reese-Pope park, and other projects.
For More Information
For more information, please contact the Athens Land Trust: 706-613-0122 or use the form: