Texarkana, U.S.A. – Tuesday, August 13, 2013
By: Greg Bischof
After 10 years of planning and construction, the third and final jewel of Rose Hill neighborhood’s revitalization effort finally got placed in the community’s crown Monday.
Housing Authority of Texarkana, Texas, officials held a “From Concept to Completion” celebration at the grand opening of the new $18- to $20-million Rose Hill Ridge apartment complexes. This is the third and final apartment installment of the Rose Hill revitalization effort that started in 2003. “Today marks to day of the final jewel being put in this crown,” said Charlotte Maxwell, HATT administrative assistant, as she spoke of the more than 120 newly constructed apartment units in the 1200 block of Stuckey Street. All are built on the same ground where the old Griff King Courts public housing projects once stood. Griff King initially opened in 1953.
The two other public housing projects Stevens Courts and Covington Homes (formerly Bowie Courts), both built in 1942, were replaced by the recently built Pecan Ridge at Rose Hill and The Oaks at Rose Hill.
HATT receive $20 million in Housing Opportunities for People Everywhere VI grant funds in October 2008. The authority used the money to get investors interested in the construction proposals. It eventually added up to nearly $80 million in construction work for all three projects.
Denis Washington, HATT Board of Commissioners chairman, agreed with Maxwell.
“When this whole effort began, it was a far-fetched concept in our minds that these construction efforts could actually even be conceived,” he said. “But now, look at this. It took a great number of partnerships and tremendous effort. It’s something we can all be proud of.”
Craig Lindholm, executive director of the Texarkana, Texas, Department of Community Redevelopment & Grants said the Rose Hill Ridge completion may not actually be the final jewel in the city’s continuing community redevelopment efforts.
“The reality is this combination of vision that began 10 years ago, isn’t really the final jewel,” he said. “Neighborhood revitalization is a continuing effort. Having been here at the very beginning of the building effort, I can’t wait to see what the next chapter of revitalization will unfold and hold for us.”
Jeff Sandford, Texarkana Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, said the apartments’ new look is enormously impressive.
“It’s great when you get to drive through your own community, look out the window and your first word is ‘Wow!’” he said. “Every life you impact in the Rose Hill community actually impacts many other lives.”
HATT Executive Director Naomi Byrne delivered a brief summary of Rose Hill’s history and thanked the many HATT and city staff members and all the elected officials and partners who had anything to do with Rose Hill neighborhood improvements.
“The history of this local public housing started back in 1940 and lasted into the early 1950s with concrete and cinder block walls and copper nails,” she said.
Byrne then thanked her predecessor, former HATT Executive Director Richard Herrington for getting the ball rolling on all three projects.