Mayor and Commission 2/5/19

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor works with a 10-member Commission to pass legislation. (Photo/Spencer Donovan)

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission will decide on a proposal to provide $39 million in Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2020 funds to redevelop Bethel Midtown Village at its Oct. 1 regular session meeting at 6 p.m.

The proposal comes in the form of a memorandum of understanding between ACC and affordable housing non-profit Athens Housing Authority, said Mayor Kelly Girtz in a Sept. 27 news release.

If the commission approves the memorandum, ACC will work with AHA on a “North Athens Downtown Development Project,” using funds from the $44.5 million SPLOST 2020 Affordable Housing Project to support the project. Voters must approve the SPLOST 2020 referendum in November first.

According to the release, the “mixed-use/mixed income” redevelopment will likely include “a mixture of housing types, land uses and density.” The project will replace and improve current housing with an increased number of “low and moderate income households in the target area,” according to the release.

“This project would truly transform not only this site and the lives of its residents, but it also has the potential to provide reinvestment into the surrounding area, including downtown Athens,” Girtz said in the release.

Girtz has referenced public-private partnership — using private companies to construct housing units with assistance from ACC — as crucial to addressing affordable housing.

“This initiative would replace and increase the number of affordable housing units with state of the art, high quality affordable housing units, improve the quality of management of the units, and improve development opportunities in the area for a variety of uses.”

The county’s “first priority” is community input from current residents of Bethel, community stakeholders and residents.

“This partnership presents a great opportunity to expand the number of affordable and workforce homes downtown and create a healthy, sustainable, and well-maintained environment for residents,” Girtz said in the release.

AHA will work with affordable housing company Columbia Residential and property management firm Jonathan Rose Companies, according to the release.

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