The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority has agreed to pay a Chattooga County-based hotel developer, Rushaya LLC, $540,000 for property at the intersection of Martha Berry Boulevard and Charlton Street, the entrance to Summerville Park.

The site had been proposed for a Sleep Inn, however residents of Summerville Park objected vigorously to the project, prompting a search for an alternative development that led to involvement by the housing authority.

Mayor Bill Collins, himself a resident of Summerville Park, told members of the housing authority board of directors Wednesday morning it was “a great win for Summerville Park and an even bigger win for the City of Rome. We’re proud to partner with an agency that has done nothing but improve the quality of life for residents of Rome.”

The housing authority will spend $40,000 of its own non-federal dollars and take out a $500,000 12-month loan at 3.99% interest from Synovus Bank to pay for the rest of the purchase price.

NWGHA Executive Director Sandra Hudson said the authority hopes to use a combination of developers fees from other projects and Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to actually pay off the loan.

Architect Bill Jones said the housing authority plans call for five buildings to be constructed on the 1.31 acre-tract. Three of the five would be one-bedroom duplex units, while the other two would be two-bedroom duplexes. Hudson said the plan is to move quickly and have the one-story duplexes available and leased up by June 30, 2020.

The new working plans are different from what the housing authority had originally envisioned for the parcel.

At first, the talk was of multi-story townhomes that would be targeted for the seniors market with market-based rent. The new units will be leased to seniors, age 62 and up, who qualify based on their income for tenant-based Housing Choice vouchers meaning that the apartment rent would be based on their income.

Housing authority Chairwoman Lee Hight said the rent for the units would be based on a formula dictated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Hudson said the changes were made, in large part, because the housing authority, which is seeking to become it’s own developer, does not want to compete with private contractors in the area and remain committed to quality affordable housing for low-income residents of Rome.

The Housing Authority received a clean 2018 audit report from accounting consultant Jack Blosky Wednesday.

He said the auditors listed just one issue with some incomplete tenant files and reported the authority was in good financial condition.

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