About MHA – more

The following is a short history of Marietta Housing Authority,
prepared by former MHA Executive Director, George Green:

On February 6, 1940 Marietta received approval of $768,000 for construction of 228 units of public housing; Project Ga. 10-1 to be 108 units, as Ga. 10-2 to be 120 units.  Project Ga. 10-1 was amended by adding 24 additional units for a total of 132 units. In March 1940 the Marietta Housing Authority named Ga. 10-1R Clay Homes in honor of United States Senator A. S. Clay, and Ga. 10-2 was named Kennesaw Homes for Kennesaw Mountain. Later this name was changed to Fort Hill Homes due to its location being at the foot of Fort Hill on which confederate batteries were located during the Civil War, and to avoid confusion with the name of the mountain.

In February 1943 negotiations were completed between the federal government and Cobb County for the lease of 101 acres of land on which 1,000 public housing units would be erected for defense workers at the Bell Bomber Plant. These were Projects Ga. 9172 and Ga. 9083 known as Marietta Place and were to be temporary war housing units built under the Lanham Act.  Plans included demolition after termination of World War II. However, housing remained critical in Marietta after the war and the units were permitted to remain. The Marietta Housing Authority operated these units for the federal government until February 1953 at which time the federal government quit-claimed all interest in the improvements and equipment to Marietta Housing Authority. After transfer of said property, the Authority entered into negotiations with Cobb County, Mr. R. S. Rudasill, Mr. A. N. Haney, and Mrs. W. E. Riley to purchase the land upon which the buildings were located. Purchase of the R. S. Rudasill property was made September 9, 1953, the  W. E. Riley property March 12, 1954, and the A. N. Haney property April 5, 1956. In 1958 Southern Technical Institute indicated an interest in moving to Cobb County.  One of the conditions was that land be made available at no cost in order for them to erect a new  facility. An agreement was entered into between the Marietta Housing Authority and Cobb County whereby the Authority would purchase the 93 acre Housley property on Clay Street for Southern Tech if Cobb County would deed 40 acres on the south side of Clay Street to the Authority. The land north of Clay Street owned by Cobb County was retained under lease until the 380 units of housing were removed in November 1962.  Prior to removal, Southern Tech was permitted the use of 100 units for student housing until dormitories were constructed at the school site.

In July 1949 the Marietta Housing Authority received approval for 250 more units of public housing.  One hundred twenty-five units were for “negro” occupancy, known as Project Ga. 10-3 – Lyman Homes – in honor of Caroline M. Lyman. Ms. Lyman, a prominent black citizen, was born in Marietta on October 25, 1842 and devoted her life to service of others. The remaining 125 units were for “white” occupancy, known as Project Ga. 10-4, were named Boston Homes in honor of Colonel John H. Boston.  Colonel Boston was born in Marietta in 1871, graduated from Marietta High School, and was also graduated from the University of Georgia in 1891.

In November 1957 Marietta received approval from the federal government for the first urban renewal project in Marietta, known as the Southwest Urban Renewal Project Ga. R-16. The Marietta Housing Authority was designated as agent for the City to administer this project which was budgeted at an estimated gross project cost of $3,790,550. The total federal grant was $2,008,577 with a local grant-in-aid of $976,437. The grant-in-aid was divided between non-cash and cash, with $787,263 in non-cash which is paid by building new streets, schools, sidewalks, street lighting, sewer and water systems, etc. The cash payment into the program was $189,174 which was paid by the Marietta Housing Authority from proceeds of Marietta Place. This project was bounded generally by Polk Street on the north, West Goss Street on the south, L & N Railroad on the east and Wright Street on the west, with a total area of 63 acres.

On November 21, 1958 the Marietta Housing Authority received notice that the Public Housing Administration had approved Marietta’s plans for development of 25 units of housing to be designed especially for occupancy by senior citizens. This was the first housing for senior citizens to be developed in the southeastern United States and is known as Project Ga. 10-5, Branson Homes.

In February 1957 it was recognized there would be a need for replacement housing in order to relocate families who would be displaced by the Southwest Urban Renewal Project. Application was made to the Public Housing Administration for an additional 125 units of public housing. After approval, the Housing Authority began looking for a site to locate the units. However, each time a site was selected nearby residents objected and held a number of protest meetings.  After objections were raised on five different locations, the Marietta Housing Authority asked the Mayor and Council for assistance. A public meeting was held by the Mayor and Council and different sites were outlined.  In conclusion, the Mayor and Council directed the new units, Project Ga. 10-6 – Johnny Walker Homes, be built in Southwest Urban Renewal area. Construction was delayed another four years because of the problems in locating a suitable site.

It was recognized that the above 125 units would use a considerable amount of the land that had been planned for single family residences and would necessitate the selection of another area for these homes. Therefore, in June 1964 the Marietta Housing Authority voted to purchase the old Hardage Dairy Farm of 80 acres for $110,000. This property bounded Marietta City limits on the north and was to be designed as a subdivision for single family residences. Immediately the nearby residents began to complain; holding protest meetings with the intention of dissolving the sale of the property in Superior Court. An election was held in an attempt to activate the 1885 charter for the City of Elizabeth and enjoin the Housing Authority from proceeding with the development. After several meetings between the Authority and affected citizens, a satisfactory solution was reached. The property was transferred to a group of citizens who placed restrictive covenants to the property and transferred it back to the Authority. The agreement further stipulated that 30.4 acres would be sold as a boundary tract along Marble Mill Road, and that the Authority would retain a 14.5 acre tract along Kennesaw Avenue until it could be developed for institutional use. The remaining 50.1 acres could be developed as a subdivision for black residents who would be displaced by urban renewal programs. This 50 acres was developed in two stages, yielding 58 residential lots with homes developed from $23,000 to $35,000.

In December 1963 approval was received to construct an additional 50 units of elderly housing in Branson Homes to be known as Project Ga. 10-7 – Branson Homes Addition. Approval was also received to construct a central office which would permit consolidation of all administrative and maintenance functions and eliminate the expense of separate administrative and maintenance operations in each project of the Authority. After consolidating administrative responsibilities in the new office, maintenance functions were moved into the old administrative office at Clay Homes where it continues to operate in a more cost efficient manner.

In July 1965 Marietta’s second urban renewal project, Ga. R-69, known as the “Johnson Street” project was approved. This project is located in the northeast section of the city, bounded on the south by Page Street and Blackwell Lane; on the north by Montgomery and Pine Streets; on the east by McIntosh Street; and on the west by Cherokee Street. This project area encompasses 54.8 acres and the estimated gross project cost of $3,196,013 with a total federal Capital grant of $2,464,472 and a local grant-in-aid of $608,729.  This local grant-in-aid is to be divided with $281,756 in cash and $326,973 in non-cash in the form of new streets, utilities, etc.

In January 1967 another urban renewal project known as “Government Complex”, Project Ga. R-106, was established. This project was developed in the downtown area on the east side of the Square bounded on the north by Dobbs Street; on the south by Washington Avenue; on the west by East Park Square and Cherokee Street; and on the east by Haynes and Waddell Streets.  This project site contains nine acres in the downtown area and is primarily a central business district development. Approximately 12 dwelling units were located in the northeast portion of the project.  At the present time all property has been purchased, redeveloped, sold, or is under contract.

In January 1967 HUD authorized the Marietta Housing Authority to proceed with Project Ga. 10-8, a development of 102 elderly housing units. The project, “Annie Coryell Dorsey Manor”, is a nine story high-rise building located at 212 Lemon Street on the old Keith School site and was purchased from the Marietta Board of Education.

The Authority continued the successful completion of three Urban Renewal Projects. On January 30, 1976 Project Ga. R-16, Southwest Urban Renewal Project, was closed out with the Authority purchasing the five remaining parcels of land that had not been sold for $186,500. All of this land was later sold.  On February 7, 1977 Project Ga. R-106, Downtown Urban Renewal Project was closed out and earned credits were transferred to Project Ga. R69, and on July 11, 1977 Project Ga. R-69, Johnson Street Urban Renewal Project, was closed out and all unsold land was transferred to the City of Marietta. In the final close out the City of Marietta received $143,523.38 as a letter of credit to be added to the Community Development Block Grant Program, and the Authority received $236,850.62.  From this the city was paid $70,419.12 for past due utilities and the remaining balance of $175,219.50 was reserved for paying engineering fees and improvements in redevelopment of Marietta Place.

In  May 1977 the first phase of 142 units of the old War Housing Project, Marietta Place, was placed under contract by the city for demolition. This was done under the city’s Community Development Program. Tenants continued to be relocated and the second phase of 168 units were placed under contract for demolition  in  July. The third phase of 108 units was placed under contract in October and the fourth and final phase of 100 units was placed under contract in February 1978.

A Contract for preliminary study on the redevelopment of the land was entered into with  John J. Harte and Associates in December 1976 with the Chamber of Commerce agreeing to pay the fee. This was done due to the fact the Authority had no funds available from which this fee could be paid.

Work continued by the Authority to plan and develop an industrial park in which small parcels of land could be sold to individuals.  As there was over a million dollars in outstanding bonds against the property,  it was necessary to amend the bond indenture in order that small tracts could be released and proceeds from the sale forwarded to the trustee. This was completed with the City’s help in March 1977 and much interest was being shown by persons and firms who were interested in purchasing one and two acre tracts.  Knowing that utilities and streets would be a costly item, efforts were begun to try and secure a grant from the Economic Development Administration to help defray part of this cost. We were advised that the city qualified and a program could be submitted as soon as funds became available. This continued for over a year and no funds became available. In June 1978 the Authority received a proposal from Kern and Padgett, Inc. to purchase a 14 acre tract on Fairground Street for $280,000.  As this tract could be sold without the development of any street or utilities, the Authority accepted the proposal. Immediately negotiations were begun to try and interest Kern and Padgett to purchase to remaining acreage and develop the entire tract into an industrial park. In the interim, Media Investments, Inc. submitted a proposal to purchase 9.97 acres of land on Fairground Street immediately south of the tract approved for sale to Kern and Padgett. This proposal was accepted by the Authority. The remaining acreage that could be sold was 36.75 acres and on September 11th Kern and Padgett, Inc. submitted a proposal to purchase this tract for $227,500. This proposal was to develop a first class industrial park with all streets and utilities on a tract of 50.75 acres. This proposal was accepted by the board and on March 15, 1979 the total tract was closed for $507,500.  Immediately previous to this closing, a loan was secured from The First Bank and Trust Company for $700,000, which together with funds in escrow were sufficient to payoff all outstanding bonds. After closing of the tract with Kern and Padgett the $507,500 was used to reduce the $700,000 loan. On April 4, 1979 the 9.97 acre tract was closed with Media Investments Inc. and the $118,350 was also used to reduce the loan. The Authority had made three monthly payments of $8,400 against the loan  and the remaining balance of $48,963 was outstanding  after all sales. This balance was set up on twelve monthly installments which will be paid from the proceeds of Marietta Place.

On August 9, 1979 Mr. Bill Hamby and Mr. Bill Kinney appeared before the Board of Commissioners of the authority and requested the commissioners to create a non-profit corporation for the purpose of selling 4.5 million dollars in tax exempt bonds to build a 150 unit development for the elderly and handicapped on Henderson Street under Section 11b of the Housing Act.  It was further requested that the authority serve as the agency to administer the Housing Assistance Payment to the owner after the development reached the management stage.  Both requests were approved. The Marietta Housing Development Corporation was chartered, the bonds were sold and ground was broken for the development July 10, 1980. Construction was completed and accepted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development September 19, 1981. Tenants moved in and a waiting list was immediately established.

In the conveyance of Marietta Place it was agreed that all proceeds over and above the expense of operating would be used for community development.

The following is a partial list of items that were paid for out of the rental proceeds from this development from March 1, 1953 through September 30, 1974.

Larry Bell Park 77,739
Purchase bulldozer – City of Marietta 6,250
Reevaluation of property – City of Marietta 30,500
Annexation Study – City of Marietta 9,000
Urban Renewal – City of Marietta 453,976
National Guard Armory – City of Marietta 26,952
Fire Department – City of Marietta 9,787
Drainage Problem – City of Marietta 6,700
Automobile – Board of Education 700
Cash Contributions – City of Marietta 162,730
Marietta Junior Baseball Council 7,650
Jackie Robinson Baseball League 2,405
Planning – McCollum Airport 10,000
Purchase of Southern Tech Property 153,075
Fort Hill Nursery and Furnishings 11,000
Lights – Heck Pony League Field 2,250
YWCA Building Fund 6,000
Marietta Pony League 1,052
Boys Club 2,200
Seats – Lemon Street School 2,992
Addition – Waterman Street School 38,500.00
Purchase of property – Board of Education Lemon & Haynes Street 19,259
Hickory Hills School Site 19,500
Sewer Line – Wright Street School Site 5,863
School Pay Increases – Board of Education 12,000
Cobb County YMCA 1,000
Recreation in MHA projects 36,896
Payment in Lieu of Tax – City of Marietta 705,659
Payment in Lieu of Tax – Cobb County 46,560
Utilities – City of Marietta & Atlanta Gas Light 1,868,195
TOTAL 3,361,311