Progress made in recent years in the area of community housing will be on display later this month as Cartersville plays host to a statewide community-housing conference.
The Georgia Initiative for Community Housing will bring representatives from cities and counties across the state to Cartersville for the three-day conference beginning Sept. 11. A partnership between the University of Georgia, Georgia Department of Community Affairs and the Georgia Municipal Association, the GICH meets twice a year for training and collaboration.
“The [GICH] has been active since 2004 and started off with a good core group of participating communities, one of which was Cartersville, for the first three-year period from 2004 to 2007, and since then, it has had both new participating communities and alumni communities getting together to report back on the progress with their community-housing efforts,” said Cartersville City Planner Richard Osbourne. “The point of that conference is to provide training sessions and to provide times in which the participating communities and the alumni can discuss their challenges, positive results and ways they can help each other improve how to best serve the needs of their communities.”
With the help of a community block grant and public-private partnerships, Cartersville’s community-housing efforts have been busy in recent years with the North Towne revitalization area, a pocket park relocation and the Stonewall Homes beautification project. Osbourne looks forward to sharing with other communities how Cartersville has partnered with home owners, Habitat For Humanity and the Etowah Area Housing Authority.
“In some communities, whole blocks of housing has been torn down and new houses, whether it’s single-family or multi-family, has been put up. Cartersville has taken a more conservative approach. We encourage public-private partnership and we have had a lot of great private investment in the last five years, especially in the North Towne revitalization area where private owners have revitalized their single-family houses,” Osbourne said. “In Cartersville specifically, the priority is for both public-private partnerships and for owner occupancy. … As a great community that has been through the program, we’re able to share our results on code enforcement and public-private partnerships.”
About 150 people from more than a dozen communities across the state will participate in the conference at the Clarence Brown Conference Center hosted by the city of Cartersville, Cartersville-Bartow Economic Development, Cartersville School System, Haigler Systems Architecture, Jenkins & Bowen PC, Northwest Georgia Regional Commission, Southland Engineering, Shaw Floors, Belk and Longhorn Steakhouse.