Box 3, Folder 4, Document 2

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For Release:
3:00 P. M., Wednesday
December 11, 1968

URBAN RENEWAL PROGRESS - 1968

REMARKS BY HOWARD OPENSHAW
DIRECTOR OF REDEVELOPMENT
FOR

THE ATLANTA HOUSING AUTHORITY

BEFORE THE
CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE

FOR URBAN RENEWAL

DECEMBER 11, 1968
.

In reporting to this Committee one year ago this month, I predicted

that in 1968 construction totaling $26.2 million would be started on urban renewal

land, including the start of construction of 1,68 dwelling units, a substantial
increase over the previous year. I am happy to report that construction was
actually started on improvements totaling $39.9 million, including the start of
1,033 dwelling units of which 88) dwelling units have been completed. This housing
construction represents over four times the number of dwelling units started and
21 times the number of units completed the serious year. This is the first time
in Atlanta's Urban Renewal Program history where Fu divig eadeteuetion exceeded the
number of dwelling units demolished. I site this as a specific example of a con-
scious effort on the part of the Housing Authority not only to demonstrate a

. feasible relocation plan by siting the availability of housing for families being
relocated by governmental action at rents people can afford - but actually to pro-
vide sufficient housing for those families being displaced. This has not been the
pattern of urban renewal in the past in this City or any other, a fault well, taken

by critics of the Urban Renewal Program. It seems to me that we are clearly moving

in the right direction.

From the period December 1, 1967 to December 1, 1968, the Atlanta
Housing Authority has acquired 285 parcels of land at a cost of $6.3 million. The
Authority relocated 180 families, 77 individuals, and 55 business concerns from
urban renewal areas, and provided housing assistance sto an additional 328 families
and 98 individuals relocated as a result of other governmental action (i.e. Code

Enforcement, State Highway, Board of Education, and airport expansion).

During the past 12 months the Authority demolished 28) structures com-

prising 8) dwelling units, and completed rehabilitation of 15) dwelling units.






The Authority sold 31 parcels of land for $3.5 million and put under

contract for sale an additional 21 parcels having a value of $2.6 million.

Construction was begun on improvements totaling $39.9 million. These
improvements include the start of 1,033 dwelling units, the Ira Hardin office
building, an addition to the Marriott Motor Hotel, and improvements at Georgia

State College and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Improvements totaling $11.2 million were completed in the past 12

months, including 88) dwelling units.

Several other activities during this period should be noted. The

Housing Authority received Federal authorization to provide 60 relocatable housing
units in the Bedford-Pine Area. This was the first authorized use of relocatable
housing units on urban renewal land in the country, and was in direct response to

a committment made by the City to residents of the Bedford-Pine Community that only
those areas ready for redevelopment would be cleared, and that every effort would
be made to permit the maximum number of families to remain in the area - even while
permanent housing was being constructed. Site improvements for these units is now
underway , and we hope that the first relocatable housing units will be in place and

ready for occupancy before the end of the year.

A second item of note was the development competition by the Housing
Authority of the 96 acres of Federal surplus land, formerly U. S. Penetentiary
property, made available to the City by President Johnson in December, 1967, to
help meet critical urban needs. The national competition consisted of the design
of an entire community, including housing for families of low and moderate income,

schools, parks and shopping facilities - a community designed to encourage a








harmonious social and economic mix. Five redeveloper's proposals were received
and submitted for review and evaluation by a jury of five nationally recognized
professionals experienced in housing development (the first time a professional
jury was employed to judge improvements on urban renewal land in Atlanta). On
Monday of this week, the Mayor announced that the Atlanta Housing Authority had
selected the National Homes .Corporation of Lafayette, Indiana to develop the
Federal surplus land. The National Homes proposal contains 600 units of housing
for families of low and moderate income, shopping facilities, a one center, two
elementary school sites, a middle school site, and a six acre park. The

redeveloper's improvements are estimated to cost $8.7 million.

A third significant activity during this period was the preparation
of a Neighborhood Development Program application outlining the City's urban
renewal activities to be undertaken in 1969. The Neighborhood Development Program
authorized by the Housing Act of 1968, is a program of urban renewal action now.
The program was developed: (1) to permit planning and execution activities to be
undertaken concurrently, i.e. to permit rehabilitation, clearance and redevelopment
to be undertaken in specific areas, even while planning is still underway; (2) to
more quickly respond to the critical urban needs of the Cities by accelerating
provisions of public facilities and services; and (3) to facilitate a more effective
programming and budgeting of urban renewal activities on an annual cash-needs basis,
i.e. the Federal government and the City providing funds annually for urban renewal

activities to be carried out in specific areas of the City.

The City's Neighborhood Development Program application, filed with the
Federal government on December 6, for the period January 1 through December 31, 1969
includes execution activities in three areas: Bedford-Pine, Georgia Tech II, and

Model Cities, and planning activities in East Atlanta and Vine City. The application




requests a Federal grant in the amount of $2.3 million. The City's share is made

up of completed non-cash grants-in-aid in the amount of $10.8 million.

Looking ahead to 1969, the Atlanta Housing Authority will continue its
‘urban renewal activities in 8 existing projects and este piandine and execution
activities in the five areas included in the City's Neighborhood Development Program.
These urban renewal activities encompass 5,700 acres of the City - a sizable task

indeed.

In addition, the Authority estimates that construction will be started
on improvements totaling $59.7 million on urban renewal land in 1969. These improve-
ments include 1,037 dwelling units, the Butler Street elementary school (which will
permit the Authority to close out Atlanta's first urban renewal project), the stadium
motel, elementary schools in Rockdale and Thomasville, improvements at Geoteia State

College and Georgia Tech, and the enclosed mall shopping center in West End.

As we stand on the threshold of a new day, a new year, Atlanta shares
the same fate as every major City in America. How can the poor be lifted from
poverty? What fate befalls our Cities? In our affluent society, it is unthinkable
that millions of Americans remain ill-housed; that affluent whites continue fleeing
to the suburbs, leaving our urban core to the poor and the black; that spreading
slums and blight are leading us not to decay but destruction, while in many cities,

officials remain insensitive to the plight of the peaple.

The bell continues to toll. Time is running out. We will survive only
as we succeed in responding to the desperate needs of our people, in terms of pro-
viding opportunities for housing, education, and employment; in terms of improving

the quality of urban life; in terms of lifting the hopes and aspirations of the poor




and the depressed; in terms of involving people in their destiny.

As we face a new year, this is our choice, our opportunity, our

challenge.




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