The Iris at Park Pointe completes refurbishment of Sunshine Homes

3.12.18 The Iris rtp

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

With the ribbon cutting for The Iris at Park Pointe, the Griffin Housing Authority has completed its multi-phase refurbishment of Sunshine Homes on Meriwether Street.

Griffin Housing Authority Director Bob Dull said the project has exceeded his expectations.

“Even our residents are freaked out. Unfortunately, our program lowers expectations a lot, but this exceeded everyone’s expectations. They’re happy,” he said.

In addition to the quality and design of the homes, Dull said the work has surpassed anything he could have anticipated.

“The process ended up giving us the benefit of the doubt, so to speak,” he said. “We got tax credits every for three years, which is unheard of in this state. We also got federal home loan bank grants – three in a row – so, to me, that’s either God or someone looking out for us. I’ve been in the business a lot of years, and I’ve never seen it happen as fast as it’s happening in Griffin now.”

When asked what he attributes that surprising success to, Dull said, “It has to do with the community; it has to do with my Board of Commissioners, which is 100 percent behind the vision we lined out; and making sure you always have the next project lined up. If we’re not thinking two years out, we’re not doing our job.”

That forward-thinking perspective means the next area of construction – The Terrace at the Park – is well underway, and plans are already moving forward for the next locations.

“We had some transition because we’ve already emptied out Nine Oaks. We’ve transferred all our residents from Nine Oaks and we’re about to begin rehabbing over there,” Dull explained. “I’m trying to keep the pace to get one project done a year, and I’m a little bit ahead of that schedule. We’ll be finishing up the Terraces in the Park by the end of this year, and then the early part of next year we’ll be working on Nine Oaks and Fairmont, so literally we have a project going every year.”

Dull is driven by a passion and love for Griffin, the only hometown he has ever known.

“I love this town,” he said, choking back emotion. “I never really had a home town growing up. I went to 12 different schools growing up. My Mom was a product of public housing; I’m a product of public housing; and Griffin is the longest I’ve ever been in one place, so it’s the only hometown I’ve ever had. To me, morally, I can’t drive through the town without seeing the things other people have seen for so often and forget about it. My moral compass, if I see someone living someplace I wouldn’t want my relatives living, I have to address it, clean it out or say something, and that’s where I think there’s been a paradigm shift in Griffin because other people have adopted that sentiment. Part of the problem is people have been blind to the neighborhoods they don’t drive through.”

The Iris at Park Pointe, however, is one residential development people cannot help but notice as they drive through the area.

“Phase II is a total of 85 units. We have 78 one bedrooms and seven two bedrooms, and the two-bedroom units are designed for a caregiver – if someone needs a caregiver or if two seniors want to be roommates,” he said. “They are income based. Half of them are subsidized – assisted housing that we help subsidize – that’s for retired seniors who are on a fixed income getting Social Security. There’s 43 percent of the units that are subsidized based on a percentage of the area income, and 43 are based on tax credit income, which, those rents go up as high as over $700 a month.”

The senior units are designated for those age 62 and above, which is often the demographic most in need of assistance.

“These are people who are really our most vulnerable. We can’t sit back and throw stones,” Dull said, adding that this phase is nearly at full capacity. “We’ll be done by the second week of April. We’re almost 68 percent leased now.”

He said there are units remaining on the tax credits, but not on the assisted units.

“But now we have 68 more units coming right behind it in the Park, so some people are waiting for those units,” he said. “Seniors in need of housing need to get on the waiting list right now.”

Seniors in need of housing assistance are urged to contact the Griffin Housing Authority at 770.227.7657.

The Iris at Park Pointe provides not only quality housing, but beautiful homes, as well, with dish washers, microwaves, cherry wood cabinets, simulated granite countertops, simulated hardwood flooring and carpeted bedrooms.

Neighborhood amenities include arts and crafts area, a TV lounge, three decks, a community room with large screen television and dining area, a fitness and wellness center with exercise equipment and blood pressure checks.

“My words don’t even do it justice. Griffin does not have anything else like this,” Dull said. “The good part is we started with 120 units at Meriwether Homes. We tore down those 120, and now, we’re already up to 86 family units and 85 senior units, which takes it up to 170 for the original 120, and we’re adding 68 more in the park, so we’ve increased housing opportunities for our seniors – almost doubling it. When we redo Nine Oaks and Fairmont, we’re originally starting with about 250 units and we’ll end up with 370 units.”

Asked if he views Griffin as being on the cutting edge of advances in the public housing arena, Dull said, “Yes. Even other cities are asking how did you do it? The time was right for Griffin.”

 

 

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