July 30, 2013

Improving the city is wise

The Daily Citizen

— The Dalton Housing Authority plans to give the east side of the city a bit of a facelift that could also improve housing for low-income residents.

The housing authority plans to tear down 75 units on Underwood Circle. The units are more than 50 years old, and just 31 are currently occupied. The housing authority has been leaving the units open as tenants leave.

The long-range plan is to find a partner that specializes in low-income housing and get money from the state and federal governments to replace those units with new ones. One of the first steps will be to determine what the city’s needs are so officials can figure out what sort of funding the housing authority can qualify for.

Meanwhile, the city of Dalton recently agreed to provide $141,582 in federal community development block grant money to demolish the units. That probably won’t be enough to tear them all down, so officials plan to start with some units that were damaged by an explosion and fire four years ago and take care of as many other units as they can.

Housing authority officials say they will likely have to tear down the 75 units in two or three phases.

These changes will do much to improve the city. Getting rid of those burned out units will replace an eyesore and a nuisance. And building new units to replace aging ones will improve the lives of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The Dalton Housing Authority should be commended for its efforts, and the City Council deserves thanks for providing some of the funding to help the housing authority achieve its goals.