The Northwest Georgia Housing Authority has paid off the debt associated with the Rome Children’s Academy, a preschool facility in the John Graham Homes complex in East Rome.
Executive Director Sandra Hudson said the last of the debt on the school was cleared from the books when they closed on financing for the construction of replacement apartments at Altoview Terrace.
The school and daycare center has been closed since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic locally.
Hudson said she was not sure, at this time, when it would reopen.
“Most of our clients are coming from John Graham Homes and those residents are not taking it (COVID-19) seriously at all,” she said. “They are out and about in groups.”
Housing Authority Chairwoman Lee Hight said the authority might be better off to keep the school closed for now because the cost of keeping it disinfected for small children and staff might be almost prohibitive.
Construction and Modernization Director Howard Gibson said the renovation of the Park Homes complex is nearing completion and framing for the new townhouse apartments on Charlton Street is now going up.
Roofing trusses on the Summerville Park development will start as soon as the weather permits.
The first site work related to the Altoview Terrace project — which will be known as Sandra D. Hudson Villas — is already underway.
The authority will take over management of 96 rental assistance demonstration units at Willingham Village on July 1. Those were the first public housing units that got a major facelift to convert to RAD units in Rome.
The authority partnered with Vantage, out of Northeast Alabama, on the renovation of those homes. When it takes over management, it will receive a fee of 6% of the gross revenue. Finance Director Felicia Redden said that should amount to approximately $36,000 a year. The revenue is considered nonfederal funds, which can be used for a variety of future projects.
Hudson also told the board she is working with Rome City Schools on a grant to provide WiFi service to as many as 200 housing units where students in the city system live.
“Even if they are back in school we can utilize funds that we received from HUD,” Hudson said. “We’re going to provide the funding for our kids to work from home, or if they go back to school they can still do their homework.”
The authority has approximately $200,000 left in a special CARES Act funding grant for the project. The money must be spent by the end of the year.
Some of the CARES Act money is also being allocated for special assistance to elderly residents of public housing units who are at risk for COVID-19. Hudson said they will get a bag with hand wash, masks, sanitizer and a gift card to Chick-fil-A.