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New Albany to demolish 114 homes to make new affordable housing

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 12:31 AM EDT
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New Albany, IN. (WAVE) - New Albany is using $2.4 million of American Rescue Plan money to demolish and rebuild the Beechwood Public Housing Complex. Residents of the 114 barracks-style houses will need to move by March, as the buildings will be demolished to make room for the new development.

Most residents do not know where they will go during construction, but New Albany Housing Authority executive director David Duggins said the change is long overdue.

“Honestly, it has served its purpose,” Duggins said. “It’s done a fantastic job over the years, but it is time to move on from it.”

Built in the 1940′s, the narrow streets, crumbling brick, and broken infrastructure show it’s time to rebuild. Duggins said once the project is finished, it will be something the city can be proud of.

“It’s our responsibility as the housing authority and partner on this tax credit deal to provide quality affordable housing,” Duggins said. “Something everyone could be proud of, not just someone living there.”

The housing authority hired extra hands to help residents make the transition to new homes. They will be able to move within the housing authority or can receive a voucher for another area. The estimated cost of the project is $26 million – the ARP dollars will help pad the budget in case unexpected expenses appear during construction. Duggins said New Albany has more than 1100 units of affordable housing, making it the third largest in Indiana.

Rendering of the proposed buildings show single-family homes, either one or two stories tall. 80 units in total will be built, with a 30-unit apartment tower for elderly residents overlooking Silver Street Park. Duggins said that although moving residents is inconvenient, the new homes will be worth the wait.

“There are going to be some bumps in the road,” Duggins said. “We work through that process. At the end of the day, it is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is better quality and still affordable.”

Construction is expected to be complete in 2024.

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