Paine College, Richmond Co. work to continue improving Laney Walker/Bethlehem


News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, July 23, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's been two years since Chawnette Boyd became a homeowner in the newly redeveloped and newly named Heritage Pines.

"I was number five," Boyd said.

House number five in the flagship community which now holds more than 44 homes.

It's part of the larger Laney Walker/Bethlehem revitalization project, which is headed by the city, breathing new life into the two historic African-American neighborhoods.

"This area is a beautiful area and there's a lot of growth in this area," she said.

Now, as the project begins to grow, the city is looking to expand.

"Paine College and the City of Augusta/Housing and Community Development can partner on initiatives that addresses needs of both institutions," said Chester Wheeler, director of the Augusta Housing and Community Development Department.

So, on Tuesday, representatives from Paine College met with the city, marking the beginning of talks about getting the school more involved.

One option is providing faculty and staff with housing.

It's something Boyd says she and her neighbors would welcome.

"That doesn't bother me," she said. "You want to keep positive people and people [who want to be] close to their jobs. You want to keep people in the area, so I think it's a great idea."

As far as students, right now, Paine reps say they're considering offering opportunities for students to lend a hand here.

It's something Wheeler says the city is also pushing for "to engage students in activities are far beyond the campus."

"I think that anything that's going to help make the area better and clean it up some and [allow for] remodeling ... I think it will be good," Boyd said.

And as for student housing, the current homes are for ownership or rent, so student housing isn't on the table right now, but it could be a possibility down the road.


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