Split opinions on possible Gilbert Manor resident relocation

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 10, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---MCG is looking to expand, but it could force some people to relocate.

"It's just going to be crazy," says Precious D'Antignac. She has lived at Gilbert Manor for two years. She says relocating to another housing development spells trouble. "Well, they so call saying they're going to move us to Lake Olmstead, and if they move us there it's going to be a lot of animosity."

This comes as the neighboring Medical College of Georgia looks to expand. The closest option is taking over the Gilbert Manor property. While Precious isn't so sure about the move, Housing Authority officials say the time is now.

Richard Arfman, director of planning and development at the Augusta Housing Authority, says, "It has served its useful purpose. It would be to the betterment of the community if MCG took over Gilbert Manor. We just need to overcome the obstacles of getting this relocation plan."

Construction is underway at Olmstead Homes. It would provide about 150 units for the people displaced at Gilbert Manor. Developers say they could be ready to move in as early as the first of the year.

Rep. Wayne Howard says, "Take it off the fast track until we can get a new development in place so the people of Gilbert Manor can have first priority at moving in that project."

Rep. Howard isn't sold on the plan. "I represent people, and by representing people you protect the assets that people have by not letting industry displace them."

"Honestly, I'm ready to move." says Quinn Merriweather. She also lives at Gilbert Manor. Quinn says she has just one concern: "All that matters to me is my kids' safety. I don't care nothing about nothing else but my children safety...that's all."

As for Precious, she says, "I'd rather stay here."

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