Georgia | The following is one of the success stories of the National Trust`s Community Partners (CP) program. Other case studies are available from their website:
http://www.nationaltrust.org/community_partners/ | Posted: 08/04/2003
For decades, Huguenin Heights was one of Macon, Georgia`s solidly middle class neighborhoods. Most of the houses were designed in the Queen Anne or Classic Revival style. But stimulated by the two-car suburban dream, many of Huguenin Heights` homeowners moved to greener pastures in the 1950s and 1960s. In a pattern typical of many urban neighborhoods, large single-family residences were subdivided into rental apartments, in this case to house students from nearby Mercer University. Property maintenance all but ceased. By the 1990s, many households were ripe for demolition.
With the help of two Inner-City Ventures Fund (ICVF) grants totaling $25,000 and three loans totaling $450,000, the Macon Heritage Foundation (MHF) is buying, rehabilitating and reselling all of the vacant and deteriorated structures in Huguenin Heights (approximately 25 houses out of 85). The impact of the sale of so many rehabilitated houses in a small community has increased appraised values from $35 to $60 per square foot over only two years, making rehab feasible without public subsidy. The key to the success of this project has been the extraordinary partnership MHF has developed with residents, businesses, banks, foundations and city government since the early commitment of Community Partners financial and technical help.
The list of local partners is headed by Mercer University which designed an employer-assisted housing program to help market MHF`s houses. Mercer offers its employees a stipend of five percent of the sales price if they purchase in Huguenin Heights. A $50,000 grant from the Peyton Anderson Foundation was used to buy and rehabilitate a "model house," which has been used in marketing.
The City of Macon has waived landfill fees and made its subsidies available to assist moderate income buyers. The Porter Foundation has provided grants totaling about $20,000. Bank of America (known as NationsBank at the time) was the funding source for $110,000 of the ICVF loan and grant assistance. Bank of America and First Liberty Bank waived or reduced closing costs for eligible buyers.
Macon Heritage`s success in partnership building has encouraged Community Partners to use MHF as a model for other preservation groups interested in initiating preservation-based community development efforts.
For more information contact:
National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036