Town Hall meeting brings development updates

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By Katie Morrison staff writer

City of Madison updated the public on its plans to establish the Canaan Corner Store and the Silver Lakes Court housing project in the Downtown Urban Redevelopment Area (DURA). The city held a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, Jan. 7 at St. Paul’s AME church in Madison. Silver Lakes Court, a senior center currently under construction on Fifth Street, is on track to be completed by August. Development has been slow due to recent weather, but city officials confirmed that it would be finished by the fall. Plans include for the housing units to be fully occupied with residents by Dec. 2016. Comprised of 44 units with one or two bedroom floor plans, Silver Lakes Court will provide low – to – moderate income housing for citizens age 55 and older. Units come with full amenities including a washer and dryer and a panic button. There will also be a gym and community room with television, movies and books for residents. “It’s going to be a very nice and safe housing development,” explained City Planner Monica Callahan.

“We want as many Madison – Morgan County citizens to take advantage of this opportunity [as possible].” The question of whether or not two non-related roommates can live together in a unit has not yet been answered, as the city staff is not in charge of the leasing. It was also presented on Thursday night that the Canaan Corner Store “pink building” would not be used as the building for the store. Due to the current poor condition and lack of space in the iconic “pink building,” the building will be torn down to prepare the site of the store. The Burney Street location was determined due to members of the neighborhood addressing their desire for a commercial center and need for access to groceries in the Canaan district.

The store’s owners, Henry and Rita Harris, will be investing $50,000 of their own money into the store, along with $100,000 from a city grant. The Harris couple will run the store themselves, providing the neighborhood area with two jobs. The store will provide convenience items, small medical supplies, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. The store will not sell alcohol. “Think of it as a convenience store without gas,” said Callahan. Additionally, the City of Madison plans to apply for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the federal government to support and improve areas of low – to – moderate income within the community. Turned down the past two years, the city is hopeful of achieving the $1.5 million grant due to recent area expansion. The grant, which will be broken into three parts and applying for $1.5 million each time, will start with micro-area A. This area includes Pearl and Burney streets, and was chosen first because housing is the oldest and most likely in the greatest crisis. However, the grant will only cover about 10-20 houses. “This is voluntary. Some residents may want nothing to do with it – and that’s okay,” stated Monica Callahan. Future DURA Town Hall meetings will be held March 3, June 2, and Sept. 1 at St. Paul’s AME Church in Madison.

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