The Oaks at Park Pointe recognized in Washington

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The Oaks at Park Pointe, a public housing property for low-income families in Griffin owned by the Griffin Housing Authority and developed by Pennrose Properties, LLC, was named winner of the 22nd Annual Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards (Public Housing category) June 8 at the Rayburn House congressional office building in Washington, D.C.

Presented to the most outstanding Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) properties in the country by the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, the Edsons convene each year on Capitol Hill members of Congress, businesses and organizations to celebrate Housing Credit developments at the forefront of creating stronger, healthier communities in urban, suburban and rural areas nationwide.

The Housing Credit is America’s and Georgia’s primary tool for creating and preserving affordable housing, financing nearly all of the affordable rental homes, almost 3 million across the country, since it was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.

“The Oaks at Park Pointe is helping to transform the Park District into a thriving neighborhood that offers residents access to important services and economic opportunities, thanks to the redevelopment effort by the city of Griffin and financing support through the Housing Credit,” said U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3). “Congratulations to everyone involved in redeveloping the area and strengthening our community by creating this much needed housing.”

“Redeveloping the dilapidated Meriwether Homes to create The Oaks at Park Pointe was a crucial part of a larger plan to give low-income families in Griffin the support they need to improve their own lives, helping them to get and keep jobs, do well in school and stay healthy,” said Mark H. Dambly, president of Pennrose Properties, LLC. “We’re honored that this collaborative effort was recognized with an Edson Award as one of the most outstanding Housing Credit developments in the country.”

“The Edson Awards recognize the Housing Credit’s ability to strengthen lives, communities and the economy, and this year’s winners remind us how vital the program is not only in Georgia but nationwide,” said Anthony J. Alfieri, president of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition. “As the primary source of financing for affordable housing, the Housing Credit must be expanded to make more developments like The Oaks at Park Pointe possible.”

The Oaks at Park Pointe redevelopment is part of a multi-year collaborative effort by the city of Griffin, the Griffin Housing Authority and more than 40 businesses and organizations to address significant challenges to the city’s communities with an abundance of blighted properties and poor housing, very limited community support programs, economic deficiencies, low-quality educational programs, outdated infrastructure, limited transportation and inadequate recreation facilities. The area was in desperate need of affordable housing options, and the redevelopment received the first multi-family building permit issued by the city in 15 years. To support overall neighborhood growth, it was coupled with investments to increase neighborhood sustainability and increase access to high-quality services, retail and job opportunities within the Park District.

Residents have access to a complete package of support programs and services that include self-sufficiency through the Griffin Housing Authority and the Spalding Collaborative, job training, day care, after school programs and recreational activities, health care services and access to an Educational Prosperity Initiative (EPI). The EPI includes the Backpack Food for the Kids Program, Griffin-Spalding Mentoring Program, after school tutoring programs, the CHARMS after school program, adult literacy classes, Healthy Life Community Garden, and UGA Scholarships for Young Scholars & Kids Programs through the Kids’ University.

The Oaks at Park Pointe is separated into 14 buildings with 84 family rental units that provide a true community feel. The design focused on connecting the site to the surrounding neighborhood and includes many green spaces, a covered picnic area and a gazebo that serves as the entrance point from nearby Meriwether Street. Sustainable features like Energy Star appliances and lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures and higher efficiency HVAC equipment provide valuable savings on utility costs to residents and help conserve natural resources.

The $15.2 million redevelopment was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), HUD, Congressman Westmoreland, the University of Georgia, the City of Griffin, Federal Home Loan Bank, project investors RBC and United Bank and many community members and organizations. Pennrose Properties and the Tapestry Development Group assisted with development and the architect was Kitchen & Associates Architects.

A panel of four judges selected seven first place winners and eleven honorable mentions for this year’s awards program. The Edson Awards, given annually by the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition, are named for Charles L. Edson, an affordable housing luminary who was Transition Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on President Carter’s Transition Staff. Mr. Edson served in the Office of the General Counsel at HUD and was for nearly 40 years Co-Editor-in-Chief of Housing and Development Reporter. He is a founding partner of the law firm Lane and Edson, and was later a partner of Nixon Peabody LLP.