News 12 takes tour inside new Laney Walker homes

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News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Is the Laney Walker Project a revitalization effort or modern-day gentrification? Some city leaders say that it's displacing families, but others disagree.

Granite counter tops, fancy bathroom sinks and stainless steel appliances are what you'll find inside homes at the Laney Walker Development.

"This house here you're looking at is at $120,000," said Assistant Housing Director Hawthorne Welcher.

"Many of those homes are too expensive," said Commissioner Bill Lockett.

They have 20 different floor plans that range from $100,000 to $200,000 renting is also an option.

"We spared no expense from a detail standpoint. It's not only granite counter tops and hardwood floods," Welcher said.

"You're working for minimum wage. You can't even afford an apartment. How are you going to buy a house?" Lockett said.

"I believe the word is gentrification. To a certain extent, we are running people out of town," Lockett said.

"So from a gentrification standpoint, we are not pushing anybody out," Hawthorne said.

Gentrification is the process of rebuilding a community and moving the poor out and the wealthy in.

"People are being displaced. People who have lived in that community all their lives can't afford that," Lockett said.

The homes may not be for everybody, but they may be perfect for some families.

"The Laney Walker Bethlehem Project is for low to moderate income persons, as well as people above that limit. It's a mixed-income development," Hawthorne said.

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