COLUMBIA — Representatives from the Columbia Housing Authority, the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association and other stakeholders met at the Downtown Optimist Club on Saturday to discuss plans for land the authority bought in December.
Phil Steinhaus, CEO of the authority, explained how the organization would use the land near the intersection of Garth and Sexton to develop affordable housing for low-income families.
Steinhaus said the authority was interested in building a mixture of dwellings, including housing with support services for tenants with individual needs. He also said there may be options for residents to become homeowners as well as regular rental housing.
Steinhaus said the authority hoped to have a finalized housing design plan by April.
Donna Cooke, who lives in the neighborhood, said she was concerned with how the land would be used. Her main concern, she said, is that the project won't be designed to integrate the affordable housing with the existing neighborhood.
After listening to Steinhaus's explanation of the plan, Cooke said, “I do like the idea of housing on that land more than a commercial property.”
Cooke also said that the authority needs to communicate better with neighbors in the area, but that the meeting was a good start.
"The purpose of the meeting was to initiate a discussion and communication with the Ridgeway Neighborhood Association about our plans," Steinhaus said.
All six lots the authority bought are adjacent to lots owned by the Columbia Community Development Corporation and the City of Columbia, and are across the street from Oak Towers, which is also owned by the authority.
Steinhaus said the authority, the corporation and the city have been meeting to discuss the future of the land, and would continue to do so.
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