WHA seeks community help to get $30 million dollar grant - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

WHA seeks community help to get $30 million dollar grant

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Wilmington Housing Authority held a joint meeting Thursday with city leaders, education leaders and police officials.

The board updated everyone on their search for a new CEO and they also discussed the $30 million Choice Neighborhoods Grant, which would renovate the entire Hillcrest community.

Right now, the plan calls for about 400 to 500 mixed income housing units. Some of the units would be for public housing and others would be for people who require no housing assistance. Housing Authority Board members say their goal is to have so many new services that people walking by do not realize some of the units are public housing.

In order to be able to apply for the grant, the project must meet several requirements. First it must include mixed income units, also for every unit taken down a new one must be built. The board must also get several community groups to agree to be partners for the project, for example a college or even the City of Wilmington.

To get the $30 million award, Chairman of the Board, Jeff Hovis, says that they would have to invest $60 million into the project making it worth a total of $90 million.  While some of the investments must be monetary, Hovis said a lot of it can be in-kind or services that are already in use like shotspotter or the extra enforcement on street. Hovis said it has been done before, and believes that kind of investment can also be made in the Port City.

Some people did bring up concerns in the meeting, City Councilman Kevin O'Grady said he has concerns about how the development will attract people with higher incomes.

"I have concerns about whether or not this is attainable, and that's the part that would make it work because you have to attract people that can live where ever they want in a community," explained O'Grady. 

Hovis said he believes services and facilities would serve as an attraction. He says they will finalize the community partners in January and hopefully have an application ready by May.

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