Director's Update: Moving ahead with confidence
Today's public housing challenge lies not only in providing decent housing and helping our residents succeed, but also in creating innovative ways to rebuild or renovate older properties, and to maintain them thereafter. These goals are doubly challenging as the housing shortage in Gainesville continues.
Fortunately, our staff and board recently crafted a strategic plan that has helped keep the focus, even amid the pandemic.
First, we diversified expansion opportunities through public/private partnering. We rebuilt Green Hunter Homes (Atlanta Street Apts.) in 2018 as Walton Summit Apartments. This has become a template for a successful public/private partnership, and we are continuing with the development of Walton Harbor (formerly Tower Heights Apartments, shown above), currently under construction.
Also, in 2020, we renovated six properties and rebranded them as Midtown Villages. Midtown Villages includes a new community center, family pavilion, playground, laundry facilities, and other ammenities. Remarkably, Midtown Villages was completed on schedule – during the COVID-19 pandemic – proving our strategic plan and team were on target.
As part of Midtown Villages, we implemented a bold arts initiative, Public Art in Public/Affordable Housing (PAPAH) to stimulate a 'culture of creativity' to inspire residents to envision a higher quality of life for themselves and their community (see the sculpture at Melrose, bottom right).
In sum, we’ve accomplished large goals, in spite of today's challenges. And now, looking forward, with a dedicated board, staff and our great residents, we are increasingly optimistic about the future.
So let's move forward together, with confidence.